I shouldnât say the word âaccident,â but it isnât one that Nik Wallenda chose last Friday to attempt his tightrope walk across Niagara Falls. Seventh-generation descendent of the famous Flying Wallenda family, Nikâs timing couldnât have been more auspicious, given that he and his family premiere a new series for Science tonight, June 18, at 9pm ET/PT. Danger by Design takes viewers inside the world of the Wallendas and the business theyâve chosen, dissecting the incredibly meticulous preparations Nik and his family undergo in advance of each of his death-defying stunts.
âPeople ask me all the time â âWhy do you do this? Why risk your life?ââ Nik says of the work showcased in Danger by Design. âMy family has been doing this for seven generations. I was born doing it; itâs really all I know. Itâs in my blood, itâs who I am and I canât imagine doing anything else.â
Whatever the case, you know that Nik has survived at least the first few Danger by Design episodes (otherwise he wouldnât have been able to take on last weekâs Niagara Falls challenge), though tonightâs follow-up episode will have you wondering how. First, Nik and his wife Erendira work with their engineering team on an astonishing sway pole act in their hometown of Sarasota, Fla. But itâs the motorcycle-on-the-wire act thatâs bound to get peopleâs palms sweating, as they plan a trip across a wire with Nik riding up top while his wife executes a trapeze act below. As part of the act, their team has to re-engineer the bike to enable it to do a full 360-degree revolution with both husband and wife aboard.
Future episodes will see Nik and his family taking on the wheel of death, the exploding box, the Ferris wheel walk, the helicopter hang and more. If you can stand it, check out the thrill of science and the science of the thrill in all six episodes of Danger by Design.
Photo: Discovery Channel