Nellie Andreeva

Diving, a main attraction during TV coverage of summer Olympics, will return to primetime way before the Rio games in 2016. ABC has picked up what is being described as television’s first diving, reality competition show from Eyeworks USA (formerly 3 Ball Prods.) The project, ordered straight to series, is based on the Dutch format Celebrity Splash and ill be executive produced by JD Roth, Todd A. Nelson and Brant Pinvidic.

According to the producers, in Celebrity Splash, celebrities perform dives from dizzying heights, which increase in difficulty each week, including backflips, somersaults and other gymnastic feats. Leading up to the competition, a professional diving instructor gives each celebrity weeks of training. The set up echoes ABC’s veteran Dancing With The Stars and its short-lived spinoff Skating With The Stars.

Celebrity Splash, called Sterren Springen in the Netherlands, the country that gave us Big Brother and The Voice, was a breakout hit for broadcaster SBS when it debuted there in August, reaching a 26.5% market share during the show’s Saturday primetime broadcasts and dominating the competition. (Watch a clip below. No knowledge of Dutch necessary.) The August launch date probably benefited from viewers’ interest in diving sparked by the London Olympics. Eyeworks already has sold the format to major broadcasters in the UK, France, and Australia, with additional sales expected at next week’s MIPCOM.

TV Editor Nellie Andreeva - tip her here.