Wallenda holds steady but drops in ratings for Discovery

Tightrope walker Nik Wallenda may have held steady during the Discovery Channel's live stunt special Skyscraper Live (pictured) but his Chicago skyline walk failed to earn the high ratings of June 2013's Skywire Live.
November 4, 2014

Tightrope walker Nik Wallenda may have held steady during Discovery Channel’s live stunt special Skyscraper Live (pictured), but his walk across the Chicago skyline failed to earn the high ratings delivered by Skywire Live in June 2013.

The special aired on Discovery Channel on Sunday (November 2) and saw the daredevil – this time blindfolded – complete a harness- and net-free, two-part walk across the Chicago skyline.

The network is billing the event as its most-watched telecast of the year, but the special’s highest ratings only came during the two-minute-long blindfolded half of the walk, which delivered 6.72 million total viewers P2+ – a sharp drop from the 13 million viewers P2+ that tuned in for the walk segment of Wallenda’s June 2013 tightrope stunt across the Grand Canyon for Skywire Live – an event that proved to be Discovery’s most-watched telecast since 2010.

A breakdown of the ratings for Sunday’s special shows that the first walk, from 8:35 to 8:42 p.m. EST/PST earned a 2.16 P25-54 with 5.84 million total viewers P2+, while the average of both walks delivered a 2.24 P25-54 and 6.03 million total viewers P2+. Discovery has not yet released ratings for the entire telecast, which aired from 7.00 p.m. to 9.30 p.m.

Skywire Live, which also enjoyed a primetime Sunday slot, delivered 8.5 million total viewers P2+ for the entire telecast from 8 to 10:20 p.m.

The Chicago walk was Wallenda’s third televised live event. His first came in June 2012 when he crossed Niagara Falls for broadcaster ABC in Megastunts: Highwire Over Niagara Falls – a stunt that averaged 10.3 million viewers over the entire two-hour broadcast on a Friday night.

About The Author
Andrew Jeffrey joined Realscreen in 2021 as its news editor. Here, he helps to oversee assignment, reporting and editing for Realscreen's daily newsletter. Prior to his work covering documentary and non-fiction film and TV, he worked as a reporter and associate producer for CBC Edmonton, and as a reporter for The Star Calgary, where he covered daily news on beats such as local and provincial politics, health care and harm reduction, sports and education. His work has appeared in other Canadian news outlets such as TVO, the Edmonton Journal and Avenue Magazine.