Just how many people watched Nik Wallenda Grand Canyon Walk? While the lead-up to the show was a bit long and drawn out, Wallenda delivered in one of the most agonizing 30 minutes of live TV ever. My hands were sweaty, my stomach felt sick and I couldn’t sit still watching Wallenda’s live tightrope walk across the Grand Canyon — AND, I wasn’t alone. Almost 13 million people watched Wallenda as he made history becoming the first person ever to cross over the Grand Canyon.
Wallenda walked 1,400 feet (at 1,500 feet high) on a two-inch-thick cable — with no safety net or harness — over the Little Colorado River Gorge on Sunday, June 23.
Wallenda was amazing. He was confident and poised as high winds threatened his balance. He prayed along the way, thanking God and asking God to calm the wind and the wire, in between talking to his father via his ear piece and mic. Most surprising for me was my own family’s reaction to the live TV event. My 11-year-old daughter watched teary-eyed under a blanket, completely shattered by the thought that Wallenda’s children could at any moment see their dad fall to his death. My 14-year-old son made it halfway and couldn’t stomach it — he didn’t want to see anything bad happen either — while the rest of us sat glued but completely unhinged as camera angles constantly reminded us how incredible this feat actually was. At the end, it was sheer relief and emotional exhaustion.
How much Nik Wallenda was paid to walk the Grand Canyon is unknown, but I do hope it’s enough to last a long, long time to spare his family and friends and the rest of us the agony of watching this again. [In 1978, Nik Wallenda’s great-grandfather Karl Wallenda was killed when he fell 10 stories while attempting a tightrope walk between two buildings in Puerto Rico.]
Discovery Channel released the following stats for the evening: SKYWIRE LIVE WITH NIK WALLENDA preshow from 9-9:10PM averaged 6.25 million total viewers, while the SKYWIRE LIVE WITH NIK WALLENDA main event from 9:10-10:20PM averaged 10.68 million total viewers and the Walk segment from 9:38PM-10:01PM averaged 12.98 million total viewers. This was Discovery Channel’s fourth best Prime Time average ever and was the best night for the network since July 2010. Wallenda’s Grand Canyon walk was seen live in 178 countries across Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the Americas and Asia Pacific.
What did you think of Nik Wallenda’s Grand Canyon walk?