Discovery sets Wallenda’s “Skyscraper” stunt for November

U.S. net Discovery Channel's latest live event with tightrope walker Nik Wallenda - a harness- and net-free, two-part walk across the Chicago skyline - is set to air live on the network on November 2. (Pictured: Skywire Live with Nik Wallenda)
September 16, 2014

U.S. net Discovery Channel’s latest live event with tightrope walker Nik Wallenda - a harness- and net-free, two-part walk across the Chicago skyline – is set to air live on the network across 220 countries on November 2.

The previously announced Skyscraper Live with Nik Wallenda will see the return of the daredevil, whose last highwire walk (pictured) was across the Grand Canyon in June 2013.

This time, Wallenda will split his ‘Windy City’ walk – his highest and steepest stunt to date – into two parts.

First, he will walk more than two city blocks across the Chicago River,  from Marina City’s west tower to the Leo Burnett Building. This portion will be uphill – rising to a 15-degree angle – and at a height of more than 50 stories. The second part will see Wallenda return to Marina City’s west tower – on foot and at street-level – to perform another highwire walk across to the complex’s east tower.

The Peacock Productions-made special will be hosted by NBC News’s Willie Geist and Natalie Morales, along with The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore.

In order to capture the walk, dozens of cameras will be placed across Chicago as well as on helicopters that will follow Wallenda’s route.

“This is going to be the most incredible tightrope walk of my career,” said Wallenda in a statement. “I can’t think of a better city to do it. I have fond memories of spending time performing in Chicago and the Midwest with my family.

“Besides, it’s the ‘Windy City’ and there’s nothing like doing this during winter in Chicago,” he added. “That’s a challenge for me and I love to push myself to do things that most people think are impossible.”

Marjorie Kaplan, group president of Discovery Channel, TLC and Animal Planet, added: “We are excited about shifting from the natural backdrop of the Grand Canyon to the urban environment of Chicago. It is an iconic American city that presents a number of extreme conditions and challenges that Nik has yet to attempt on such a grand scale.”

Executive producers for Peacock Productions include Gretchen Eisele, Colleen Halpin, Knute Walker, Benjamin Ringe and Betsy Wagner, while Howard Swartz is serving as executive producer for Discovery. Other EPs on the special include Wallenda, David Simone, Winston Simone and Shelley Ross.

The special will air live on Discovery Channel on November 2 at 7 p.m. EST/PST.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.