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ABC buys diving reality competition series 'Celebrity Splash'

October 09, 2012|By Meredith Blake

Americans may be wary of many things that are popular in Europe -- socialized medicine, tiny cars, nude beaches -- but we sure do love their reality TV. Over the last decade or so, the broadcast airwaves have been filled with shows borrowed from our friends across the Atlantic, from “Survivor” to “Big Brother” to “American Idol.”  

The latest, and possibly most ridiculous, European import is “Celebrity Splash,” a show that ABC bought late last week from Eyeworks USA, a prolific producer of unscripted television. The premise is mind-numbingly simple: Celebrities (or approximations thereof) vie against one another in a weekly diving competition. Think of it as “Dancing With the Stars” -- or, for that matter, “Skating With the Stars” -- but with diving. (Up next, probably: “Skateboarding With Celebrities.”)

The format, which has also been sold to broadcasters in France, the UK and Australia, is modeled on the hit Dutch series “Sterren Springen.” ABC has not yet set a premiere date for the American version, though it seems possible that programming executives are waiting to see if ratings for “Dancing With the Stars,” now in its 15th season, continue to soften.  

One can’t help but wonder if Americans will spark to a reality show about diving. Of course, the equally cheesy “Dancing With the Stars,” based on the UK smash “Strictly Come Dancing,” was met with plenty of cynicism when it premiered back in 2005, only to become one of network television’s biggest hits.

The bigger issue may be whether image-conscious celebs will sign up for a show where the potential for embarrassment -- not to mention injury -- is so very high. Slipping during the salsa is one thing; bellyflopping from a 10-meter platform is quite another. And let’s not even talk about the bathing suits, or the constantly soggy hair and smeared makeup.

Still, if the clip above is any indication, “Celebrity Splash” could prove quite entertaining. So start brushing up on your diving lingo now.

What's your verdict: Will "Celebrity Splash" be brilliant, embarrassing, or both? And who would you like to see take the plunge?


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