CTV is Exclusive Canadian Broadcaster Partner of Unprecedented Feat
- The thrilling three-hour event begins at 8 p.m. ET/PT with a one-hour special of the greatest stunts ever, leading into the exhilarating tightrope walk at 9 p.m. ET/PT -
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TORONTO, May 15, 2012 /CNW/ - CTV announced today that it is the exclusive Canadian broadcast partner of daredevil Nik Wallenda's death-defying tightrope walk, live from Niagara Falls, on Friday, June 15. Canadians can follow along with Wallenda's every breath-taking step, in the unprecedented, live two-hour special MEGASTUNTS: MAN ON WIRE: LIVE FROM NIAGARA, airing from 9-11 p.m. ET/PT, exclusively on CTV and simultaneously on CTV Mobile. Kicking off the festivities at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CTV is an hour-long special devoted to the greatest stunts of all time, MEGASTUNTS: THE GREATEST STUNTS... EVER (visit CTV.ca to confirm local broadcast times).
On June 15, Nik Wallenda will walk approximately 1,550 feet of tightrope wire, suspended 173 feet above the raging waters of Niagara Falls, from the U.S. to Canada - an unprecedented feat that has been banned for over 125 years. Wallenda, 33, announced the much-anticipated official date for his historic walk in a news conference at Niagara Falls last week.
Wallenda's tightrope walk over Horseshoe Falls, the biggest of the three falls that make up Niagara Falls, is unprecedented and will be a culmination of a life's work for him and his entire daredevil family.
"It's very exciting. This is something I've wanted to do for a long time," said Wallenda, a seventh-generation member of the legendary Great Wallendas, a travelling family circus troupe dating back to 1780. "It's been a dream I've had since I was six-years-old, when I first visited the falls with my parents. I remember looking across ... and thinking, it would be cool to be the first person in the world to do this."
"MAN ON WIRE: LIVE FROM NIAGARA promises to be an incredible, never-seen-before spectacle," said Phil King, President, CTV Programming and Sports. "Mobilizing our entertainment, news, digital, and radio platforms, we will deliver all the edge-of-your-seat excitement exclusively to Canadians leading up to and during this must-see live television event."
Crossing the Niagara River on a tightrope has been banned since 1890. Thirteen tightrope artists have traversed the gorge throughout history, notably the Great Blondin, but Wallenda discovered in his research that no tightrope artist had ever before walked directly over the awesome and raging cascades. Wallenda, who holds six Guinness World Records, including the "longest bicycle ride on a tightrope without a safety net" and the "largest human pyramid on a high wire", has set his sights on the unprecedented feat.
In November 2011, Wallenda approached officials in the U.S. and Canada with a proposal to cross directly over Horseshoe Falls, from Goat Island on the U.S. side to Table Rock on the Canadian side. Park Commissions in New York and Ontario, Canada, were extremely skeptical about permitting a high wire stunt like this, citing worries about the cost, copycats, security, and Wallenda's safety, and initially rejected the idea. But Wallenda was determined and made it his mission to secure the permissions to achieve this life-long dream.
"I am a very challenge-driven person," he said. "Don't tell me it can't be done, because I'll find a way to do it."
After months of work and a time-consuming negotiation, the Ontario Parks Commission approved a one-time exemption in February to allow Wallenda to attempt a single crossing, reversing the 128-year ban on stunts. The Niagara Parks Commission has specified that such feats can only be attempted once every two decades.
"My great grandfather taught us to never give up. This is just the ultimate story of just never giving up," Wallenda said, adding that the legal battle was the biggest challenge of his career. "I got two laws changed that were over one hundred years old ... now, guess what… Nik Wallenda is going to walk across the falls June 15."
To prepare for his greatest stunt yet, Wallenda trains on land using a wire identical to the one he will walk on over the falls this summer. In training, he is sprayed with heavy mist from a fire hose to simulate the falls' raging waters, and put up against a wind machine, generating gusts up to 60 miles per hour. Tourists and fans can visit him in training at the Seneca Niagara Casino in Seneca, NY this month.
In many ways, Wallenda has been practicing for this moment his entire life. The 33-year-old Florida native began walking the wire at age two and learned the ropes from his father, Terry Troffer, a retired acrobat who serves as his chief-rigging engineer and safety expert. During the June 15 stunt, Wallenda will be able to talk with his father through an earpiece the entire time.
Though he admits his family is "a little nervous" about this walk, Wallenda says they are proud and happy that he will get to tackle a life-long dream.
With the televised June 15 walk, Wallenda is carrying out the legacy of his great grandfather, family patriarch Karl Wallenda, who fell to his death at age 73 in 1978 on a tightrope walk in San Juan, Puerto Rico. But Wallenda, who has already taken on and conquered the same walk that claimed Karl's life, is not worried that he will meet the same fate as his grandfather.
"We can tell immediately about why he lost his life. His biggest challenge was his age and his physical ability. The wire was also not put up properly, whereas I'll be rehearsing and knowing exactly what I'll experience," Wallenda said.
The walk itself is expected to take approximately 30 to 40 minutes and is expected to draw thousands of spectators on the U.S. and Canadian sides, and boost tourism to the region leading up to and long after the historic event.
Wallenda is focused and remarkably at ease, considering the tremendous risk involved. It's just between him, the wire and now - the breathtaking beauty of Niagara Falls.
"It's peaceful actually. I get in the zone," he said. "It becomes relaxing."
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CTV, Canada's Olympic Network, is also Canada's largest private broadcaster. Featuring a wide range of quality news, sports, information, and entertainment programming, CTV is Canada's most-watched television network and lead broadcaster of the London 2012 Olympic Games. CTV is a division of Bell Media, Canada's premier multimedia company with leading assets in television, radio and digital. Bell Media is owned by BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE), Canada's largest communications company. More information about CTV can be found on the network's website at ctv.ca
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