Imagine "Dancing With the Stars" but with chlorine, bathing caps and belly flops.
That's precisely what ABC ordered up last week from Eyeworks USA with the series "Celebrity Splash." The celebrity competition format debuted this past summer in the Netherlands, and as a result Dutch broadcaster SBS 6 more than tripled its ratings average and grabbed nearly 27% market share in its Saturday night prime-time broadcast, Eyeworks says.
It seems that Americans are willing to watch any amount of silly TV these days -- and maybe we're not the only ones. The "Celebrity Splash" format has also been sold in the United Kingdom, France and Australia.
We don't know where in the development process this show is and there's always the possibility it might never see the light of day. According to the Los Angeles Times, "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."
As we talked about it in the newsroom, one reporter suggested that the show could have legs on the heels of the Olympics, which kept viewers glued to the tube. Another person said putting inexperienced divers in the limelight could make for disastrous TV, recalling when in 1998, to the horror of millions, highly experienced, gold-medal-winning diver Greg Louganis hit his head during a dive and narrowly escaped death.
The best comment was the suggestion from one of our editors: Combine "Celebrity Splash" with AMC's "The Pitch" and have ad execs dive headfirst for a new show called "The Flop."