Diving is not just for the Summer Olympics anymore. The sport is about to make waves in prime time, with two competing star-driven reality series coming to TV in 2013. ABC recently announced the series Celebrity Splash, based on a hit show from the Netherlands, while Fox countered with the two-hour special Stars In Danger: High Diving, based on an annual German TV event.
Diving legend Greg Louganis, who signed on to serve as a judge on Celebrity Splash, believes the shows will give diving some needed exposure outside of the Games.
"Usually you only see diving once every four years," Louganis tells TV Guide Magazine. "This is a sport the USA used to dominate. The state of diving today is that the entire world is chasing China. This [show] is so wonderful for diving, a great way to show kids a sport that they may not have thought about. To get young people involved, that's what we need to be competitive on a world stage."
Fox is expected to air Stars in Danger this winter, sooner than Celebrity Splash. But ABC and Celebrity Splash producer Eyeworks USA believe they have a leg up after signing Louganis, who earned four Olympic gold medals. Executive producer J.D. Roth says Louganis is "someone who has earned the right to be called a legend, and who will help bring the show the credibility it deserves."
Celebrity Splash will feature stars diving from heights of up to 10 meters (around 33 feet). Louganis says stars best suited to the challenge will have a dancing background and "some semblance of fitness."
Dancing background? Perhaps Celebrity Splash could tap into the ever-growing roster of Dancing with the Stars alums. "They would be great," Louganis says. "I'm a fan of Dancing with the Stars as well. There's a lot of good things there — they talk about posture, about holding your frame. So many elements in order to be successful in diving are utilized and practiced on [the show]."
Besides serving as a judge, Louganis hopes to help train the celebrities, something he regularly does at dive camps across the country. He also plans to give some safety input. "There are those elements of danger," says Louganis, who famously hit his head on a board at the 1988 Seoul Games. "Diving's not an easy sport. It has challenges in terms of fitness level, and there's an element of fear."
No celebrities have been announced for either show so far. Who will be brave enough to dive in?