EXCLUSIVE: Discovery Channel, which decided Sunday to scrap its much ballyhooed live Mount Everest jump after a weekend avalanche there killed 13, will instead telecast a special documenting the disaster. In much the same way the Naudet brothers happened to be at the World Trade Center towers the morning of September 11, 2001, filming a documentary about members of Lower Manhattan’s Engine 7, Ladder 1 firehouse, and wound up instead producing the docu 9/11, so too were camera crews for the Discovery Channel jump at Everest at the time of the single deadliest incident in the history of the peak. NBC News’ Peacock Productions crews, which were to have produced the live jum, was at base camp at the time of the avalanche. Crews had been shooting footage in advance of Discovery’s planned five nights of live programs culminating in Joby Ogwyn’s May 11 jump.
The special will document last weekend’s disaster that struck at 7 AM Friday, Nepal time, and will follow the Sherpa community’s reaction, grieving, and ceremonies for the victims. Ogwyn will be interviewed for the special; he and his team were involved in recovering the bodies from the mountain. Read More »
BBC Three has ordered a docu on the Amanda Knox case update from NBC News’ Peacock Productions — Peacock Prods’ first UK commission out of its new London office. Peacock predicts its one-hour special, Is Amanda Knox Guilty? will be the first TV docu on the case since an Italian judge announced the second guilty verdict on January 30 — it’s scheduled to air on BBC Three on Monday, February 17. Read More »
Discovery Channel, looking to top Nik Wallenda‘s made-for-TV tightrope walk across the Grand Canyon, has signed Joby Ogwyn to attempt the first wing suit flight off the summit of Mount Everest, live on Discovery Channel in May. The jump — a descent of more than 10,000 vertical feet at speeds of over 150 mph – will be telecast live in 224 countries and territories.
Discovery’s had good luck with live daredevil specials. In July, an average of 13 million people watched Wallenda slowly walk a wire across the Colorado River Gorge while conducting a running dialogue with God and Jesus. “Oh, I praise you, Jesus. Lord, help this cable to calm down — command it,” the 34-year-old aerialist suggested a few yards into his quarter-mile Skywire Live With Nik Wallenda. Wallenda was not wearing a harness but had a microphone and two cameras — including one that looked down on the dry Little Colorado River bed and one that was focused dead ahead. Discovery telecast the ratings grab with a 10-second delay in the U.S. and a couple hundred other countries. The two-hour event delivered 8.5 million total viewers — jumping to 13 million during the actual walk. It became the third-highest-rated telecast of all-time in Discovery Channel history and was the most-watched TV program that night, beating everything on the broadcast nets and cable.
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