Discovery Channel has secured the live TV rights for daredevil Nik Wallenda‘s latest stunt: walking across the Grand Canyon on a tightrope. Wallenda announced the stunt on NBC’s “Today” this morning. It was probably not a coincidence, as NBC News’ Peacock Productions will produce live coverage of the tightrope walk for Discovery Channel.
According to Brian Stelter in the Times, ABC was the other bidder for Wallenda’s latest stunt, but Discovery simply offered the better deal. A source close to the program tells TVNewser that Discovery’s offer was “dramatically better” than ABC’s, which included the stipulation that Wallenda wear a safety harness. Discovery is not requiring that Wallenda wear a harness.
The market for live stunt programming continues to be strong. Discovery scored big with live coverage of Felix Baumgartner‘s space jump last October. ABC aired Wallenda’s last stunt in June 2012, when he walked across Niagara Falls. ABC News produced the coverage, which drew the best Friday night ratings in years for the network.