Nik Wallenda doesn’t want to die. It just looks that way sometimes. He’s seventh generation of the legendary acrobatic family The Flying Wallendas, and is on a mission to bring his famous family’s skill, passion and showmanship to a new 21st Century audience.
On Wednesday, June 22 from 10-11PM ET/PT, Discovery Channel will sneak peek LIFE ON A WIRE, a limited series commissioned by Discovery Channel that profiles Nik and his incredible family. Produced by RelativityREAL for Discovery, additional episodes are set to air later in 2011 on the network.
LIFE ON A WIRE shows how, through the help of his entire family, Nik creates spectacular acts that cheat death through science, skill and discipline. The success of any of Nik’s acts — and, indeed, his very life — is dependent upon meticulous preparations that include engineering and wind speed analysis, conducted with a crew that includes his chief engineer (his uncle Mike), and his safety coordinator (his father Terry).
Sparks fly frequently between father and son, as Terry is more of a traditionalist when it comes to rigging and safety. As Nik says, “He has his ideas and I have mine. Just because it’s been done for generations doesn’t mean something new won’t make it easier or quicker or faster.” Wife Erendira is the eighth generation of a circus family as well, and she and their three children travel the world with Nik.
This past weekend, Nik and his mother Delilah made headlines around the world as they successfully walked a high wire in Puerto Rico — a walk that infamously killed Nik’s great grandfather Karl in 1978. (The Puerto Rico walk was filmed for a future episode of LIFE ON A WIRE.)
Says Nik, “People ask me all the time – why do you do this? Why do you risk your life? My family has been doing this for seven generations. I was born doing it; it’s really all I know. It’s in my blood, it’s who I am and I can’t imagine doing anything else.”
In the June 22 episode of LIFE ON A WIRE, Nik attempts to break two world records in the Bahamas, by traversing a wire between two towers at the Atlantis resort. But the strain of planning and executing two incredibly dangerous walks in the boiling heat proves to be too much for one member of the family, as they collapse and are rushed to the hospital. Nik faces a tough choice – to continue what he started or to be by his loved one’s side in their time of need.
LIFE ON A WIRE is produced for Discovery Channel by RelativityREAL/The Jay and Tony Show. Executive producers are Jay Blumenfield, Tony Marsh and Tom Forman from RelativityREAL; David Simone and Winston Simone of DSW Entertainment; and French Horwitz from Discovery Channel.