The man best known as "The King of the High Wire," Nik Wallenda, is set to traverse the Grand Canyon without a harness June 23 — and Discovery Channel will be there to capture it.
In a bid for DVR-proof water-cooler fare, the cable channel is said to have outbid rivals for the opportunity to air the nail-biting stunt as a play-by-play live event. Wallenda, 34, will be on a tightrope at 1,500 feet above the Little Colorado River, considerably higher than his 2012 tightrope walk directly over Niagara Falls at 200 feet. ABC broadcast the latter live.
"Discovery Channel continues to bring some of television’s most talked about and historic live events of the year. From Felix Baumgartner setting the world record for highest skydive in Space Jump Live to this latest feat showcasing Nik Wallenda’s greatest challenge yet," said Eileen O’Neill, group president, Discovery and TLC Networks, in a statement announcing the news Monday.
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Added Wallenda: "The stakes don’t get much higher than this. The only thing that stands between me and the bottom of the canyon is a two-inch thick wire. I’m looking forward to showing the audience a view of the canyon they’ve never seen before."
The tightrope crossing will take place in a remote section of the canyon, which is operated by Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation. According to a media rep for the area, the Navajo Nation is home to more than a dozen national monuments, tribal parks and ancestral sites.
The event will be produced by Peacock Productions for Discovery with Gretchen Eisele, Knute Walker and Benjamin Ringe serving as executive producers. Howard Swartz will executive produce for Discovery.