CBS scored other-worldly ratings with reality show Survivor, but it’s u.s. network competitor NBC that will reach for the stars with producer Mark Burnett’s next voyeur venture, Destination Mir. NBC reportedly beat out Fox, ABC and CBS, putting up us$40 million for the rights to the new series, which is slated for the 2001/2002 season.
Destination Mir will feature a group of American civilians (at least a dozen) vying for the chance to win a trip aboard a Soyuz spacecraft, with the ultimate destination of Russian space station Mir. The collection of would-be astronauts will all undergo training at a facility in Star City, Russia (near Moscow), but Russian space officials will send one of them home each week until the solitary winner emerges.
In addition to broadcasting the 13 to 15-part series, NBC will air coverage of the winner’s journey into space, the visit onboard the space station and the return to Earth.
Part of NBC’s deal with Burnett also includes broadcast of a one-hour doc on Dennis Tito, a businessman who has paid for the privilege of visiting the space station.
Executive producer Burnett masterminded the concept for Destination Mir, and brought in Holland-based company Mircorp to help coordinate production. Mircorp was formed earlier this year to facilitate interaction between commercial users of Mir and the space station’s Russian operators.
Burnett’s adventure reality shows, which include Survivor and USA Networks’ (formerly Discovery’s) Eco-Challenge, have enjoyed phenomenal success, propelling the genre into the mainstream. The second installment of Survivor – called Survivor: The Australian Outback – is currently in the works, and will premiere on January 28, 2001, after Super Bowl XXXV. Susan Rayman