November 02, 2012 3:53pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Greg Louganis to Judge ABC's Celebrity Diving Series (Exclusive)
ABC is going for the gold with its upcoming reality entry based on the international format Celebrity Splash.
The network has tapped five-time Olympic medalist Greg Louganis to serve as one of three judges on the upcoming unscripted diving competition series, The Hollywood Reporter has learned exclusively.
Based on the international format, Celebrity Splash revolves around celebrities performing 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.
"There is nothing more gratifying to an elite athlete than to see his or her sport excite audiences and resonate with fans," said Louganis, who earned four gold medals and a silver in diving events as part of the 1988, 1984 and 1976 Olympics. "Diving is one of those unique disciplines requiring fitness, physical strength, precision and artistry. I am thrilled to be part of bringing the sport that I love to a large TV audience -- which won’t have to wait until Rio 2016 to see some pretty incredible diving."
ABC picked up the format from Eyeworks USA in October with CEOs JD Roth and Todd A. Nelson attached as executive producers.
"Doing a celebrity diving show without Greg Louganis would be like producing a celebrity basketball show without Michael Jordan," Roth said. "In the world of diving, Greg is simply in a league of his own."
The series, which broke ratings records in the Netherlands and has been sold to markets including the U.K., France and Australia -- will premiere next year on ABC.
For Louganis, the effort marks his latest small-screen endeavor following guest appearances on ABC's Dancing With the Stars and IFC's Portlandia. He is repped by Chris Snode and Meghan E. Thompson at Sports Promotions in the U.K.