October 05, 2012 7:02pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
ABC Picks Up Diving Reality Series 'Celebrity Splash' (Video)
Less than two months after the London Olympics captivated the country, ABC is making a splash with an unscripted diving series.
The home to Dancing With the Stars has picked up a series based on the Netherlands hit format Celebrity Splash, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
From Eyeworks USA (previously 3 Ball Productions), the reality competition series was a breakout hit in the Netherlands (titled Sterren Springen). Since premiering in August, Dutch broadcaster SBS 6 more than tripled its ratings average, collecting a 26.5 percent market share during its Saturday night primetime broadcasts.
The format has already been sold to broadcasters in the U.K., France and Australia, with additional sales expected to come at next week's MIPCOM.
The series will see celebrities perform complicated dives from varying heights with the assistance of a professional diving instructor who helps each participant with weeks of training. Dives can be from as high as 10-meter high boards with increasing levels of complexity, including backflips, somersaults and other gymnastic feats.
“Eyeworks had been developing the Celebrity Splash format for years, confident that it would resonate in the family entertainment genre with audiences around the world," Eyeworks Group founder and CEO Reinout Oerlemans said in a statement announcing the news. "Now, coming off its huge and instantaneous success in Holland, with SBS believing in its potential based on the strength of the format, we are thrilled to have sold it to the U.S. This U.S. format sale, coming just six weeks after its premiere in Holland, and on the heels of sales to the U.K., France and Australia, represents the sale of the format into the world’s most important television markets."
Added Eyeworks USA CEO and exec producer JD Roth: “This format has found a perfect home in ABC, which has been a fantastic partner to us on many of our shows. We’re eager to tap into our expertise in producing competition shows with a twist, so to speak, and to deliver to ABC and its viewers an exciting, surprising and inspiring series."
The pickup comes after ABC has seen its long-running reality competition series Dancing With the Stars suffer ratings erosion.
Watch a clip of the Netherlands version, below. An airdate has not yet been set for the ABC format, which will be executive produced by Roth, Todd A. Nelson and Eyeworks USA’s Brant Pinvidic.