The Fox Network has scrapped plans for a special that had been lined up for this fall. Writing on Deadline.com, Nellie Andreeva reports that the network pulled the plug on its "Jump of the Century," which was expected to showcase daredevil Big Ed Beckley and stuntman Eddie Braun attempting to jump across the Snake River Canyon in Idaho.
The timing of the event was set to mark the 40th anniversary of a heavily publicized failed attempt by Evel Knievel to jump the canyon.
"'Jump of the Century' was supposed to feature the two rivals re-creating the 1974 stunt — one on a rocket and one on a rocket-powered motorcycle," Andreeva writes. "The special, announced at Fox’s upfront presentation in May, was on a tight schedule as the anniversary of Knievel’s stunt is September 8. I hear preparations were moving slow, with some of the contraptions taking a long time to design and build, and the budget was poised to go significantly above the original estimate due to growing production expenses."
The planned airdate of Oct. 27 was a part of the problem, Andreeva notes, with that date accompanied by shorter days and often unpredictable weather, making the live special a logistical challenge — and an expensive undertaking.
"Some of that was built into the premise — setting such dangerous stunts safely live on TV is hard and expensive. Word is Discovery lost millions and millions of dollars on its Mount Everest jump special, which was canceled after a deadly avalanche at the summit," Andreeva notes. "Additionally, because of their bitter rivalry, I hear it has been hard to get Braun and Beckley together."
In a statement provided to Deadline, the network confirmed: “Due to production timelines and budget concerns, we have decided to not move forward with the 'Jump Of The Century.'"
Andreeva adds: "Beckley, who last fall acquired rights from the Idaho Department of Lands to reproduce Knievel’s Snake River Jump on the 40th anniversary for a fee of $943,000, announced the setback on his blog and expressed confidence that he and the special’s team will find another media partner."
Beckley reportedly wrote on the blog: "We received the final word on Tuesday evening the executives at FOX TV have backed away from the Snake River Canyon Jump."
He added: "We are now seeking other media partners and we are undaunted by this development because it is in God’s hands. We have followed his lead from the start and whatever he has in store for us, whatever it may be we are along for the ride."