World-renowned master of the high wire and star of one of the biggest television events of 2013, Nik Wallenda, has been named the 2014 Realscreen Awards’ Personality of the Year.
Wallenda, star of Discovery Channel’s smash live event Skywire Live with Nik Wallenda, will be honored during the fifth annual Realscreen Awards ceremony, to be held June 4 in Santa Monica as part of the Realscreen West market and conference.
Wallenda, whose great grandfather is the legendary Karl Wallenda, represents the seventh generation of Great Wallendas, and began his professional wire-walking career at the age of 13, although he had been walking on wires from the age of two. In 2001, he set his first world record in Kurashiki, Japan, for a four-layer, eight-person pyramid on the high wire.
Other amazing feats included completing, along with his mother, Delilah, the walk that took the life of his great grandfather – a 135-foot-long crossing between the two towers of San Juan’s 10-story Condado Plaza Hotel; his walk directly over Niagara Falls in June of 2012, seen by more than 13 million viewers; and the event that captivated millions last June, broadcast live on Discovery Channel – Skywire Live with Nik Wallenda – which saw the daredevil cross the chasm of the Grand Canyon in the Wallenda tradition, untethered.
Facing wind gusts measured at 48 miles an hour and at a height of 1,500 feet above the Little Colorado River, Wallenda completed his walk before an international audience of 23 million via television and other mediums, with the event being broadcast live in 183 countries.
“Staying true to his personal motto – ‘Never give up’ – Nik Wallenda captivated the world with a mix of sheer guts, hard work and an incredible skill that goes back generations,” said realscreen editor and content director Barry Walsh. “And it was all real, happening before our eyes. Television at its best can entertain, educate and inspire, and Nik’s contribution to the medium last June is a prime example.”
Previous winners of the award include the cast of History’s Pawn Stars; Gene Simmons, KISS bassist and star of A&E’s long-running docusoap Gene Simmons Family Jewels; and Kim Kardashian, star of E!’s Keeping Up with the Kardashians.
This year will also see Studio Lambert founder and the exec producer of Undercover Boss and Gogglebox, Stephen Lambert, inducted into the Realscreen Awards Hall of Fame, as Producer Extraordinaire.