10:20am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Nat Geo Sets Live Swim Dive With William Trubridge
National Geographic Channel is taking a deep dive.
The cable network has ordered its follow-up to Live From Space, setting a live special with world record-holder William Trubridge.
Free Dive Live With William Trubridge will follow the 15-time free-diving record-holder and current world champion as he attempts to swim deeper than any person has ever gone before -- on a single breath. The dive will follow Trubridge, 33, as he dives into the infamous Dean's Blue Hole in the Bahamas with nothing but his hands and feet to propel him, attempting to reach 350 feet -- a depth deeper than the height of the Statue of Liberty.
The round-trip dive, if successful, would set a new world record. Nat Geo will document the attempt live in a special exec produced by Endemol's Darlow Smithson Productions in association with Trium Entertainment and Apex Sports Agency. The special will follow Trubridge's descent through to his arrival 350 feet below, where a flood of nitrogen to the brain can cause disorientation and blurred vision, to the final 66 feet of his ascent when he'll begin swimming in reverse in a bid to keep his lungs from expanding too rapidly and bursting. It's at that final stage that an average of nearly 100 free divers die every year.
"We took viewers to the International Space Station, 250 miles above the Earth's surface, and to the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the world's oceans, with James Cameron. And now, we will watch William Trubridge attempt to do what no man has ever done before in pursuit of the world free dive record," Nat Geo president Howard T. Owens said. "For more than 125 years, National Geographic has been about celebrating explorers who push the boundaries of human limitations. This will be a thrilling feat, and no doubt we'll all be holding our breath right along with William as he attempts this almost unimaginable challenge."
The show will also document Trubridge as he prepares for the dive and explore the science of how his body is able to tackle something most people could never do.
The special comes as live events -- including awards shows -- continue to be hot properties among broadcast and cable networks in an era of increased competition and the DVR. Discovery recently announced it would televise a live moon landing and ordered reality series Survival Live. That network has seen its live events -- including Felix Baumgartner's leap from the stratosphere, and Nik Wallenda's tightrope walk -- deliver massive ratings.