Reality TV takes a dive with 'Splash'

Kendra Wilkinson. (Adriana M. Barraza / WENN)

Kendra Wilkinson. (Adriana M. Barraza / WENN)

Bill Harris, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:29 PM ET

How else to explain Splash, a celebrity diving competition that debuts Tuesday on ABC.

Now, you may be thinking, "Didn't they already do this?" Well, yes, it was kind of done, but it was done by someone else.

Back in January, Fox aired a two-hour special called Stars in Danger: The High Dive. It belly-flopped in the ratings, never to be heard from again.

Splash is a series, though, based on a Dutch series.

And remember, Splash is not to be confused with Smash, an NBC series that has been taking a different type of dive lately.

Anyway, Splash is the latest attempt by reality TV to come up with a different framework for what now is a familiar format.

Sports can be a tricky sell in this genre, because one could argue, for example, that people who are interested in diving take it seriously, and rather would watch top-notch competitive diving in the Olympics or whatever. Often, reality competition is for people who like competition, but don't necessarily like traditional sports.

Yes, Battle of the Blades was a ratings success on CBC, but the idiosyncrasy of Canada is that we treat NHL players (or even ex-NHL players) as celebrities. Yet they all earned their livings as professional athletes. Watching Glenn Anderson trying to master figure skating is different than watching 417-pound Louie Anderson trying to master diving, you know what I mean?

 


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