Nik Wallenda and his sister, Lijana, seventh-generation members of the Wallenda family highwire act, will attempt a walk of approximately 1,300 feet long and 25 stories above street level across New York City’s iconic Times Square.
The daredevil stunt will take place on Sunday, June 23 and be televised live by ABC as Highwire Live in Times Square with Nik Wallenda as a two-hour event. The walk marks Lijana Wallenda’s first highwire stunt since a 2017 accident where she, along with four others, fell 30 feet off a tightrope during a rehearsal.
Nik Wallenda has done several of these televised stunts, including walking blindfolded between two skyscraper towers in Chicago in 2014 and a 2013 walk across the Colorado River Gorge. He was also the first person to walk across Niagara Falls in 2012.
The Wallendas don’t always make it. In 2017, five members of the troupe were involved in an accident while working without a net as an eight-person pyramid. Four performers suffered critical injuries, with Nik’s sister, Lijana, experiencing the worst: She broke every bone in her face and had to be placed in a medically induced coma as surgeons implanted plates and screws.
Karl Wallenda, the great-grandfather of Nik and Lijana, died in 1978 while attempting to walk between two 10-story hotel towers in San Juan, Puerto Rico. That death was televised.
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The Wallendas have also suffered the 1962 deaths of Nik and Lijana’s uncles, Dieter Schepp and Richard Faughnan, in Detroit. Karl Wallenda also lost sister-in-law Rietta, who died in 1963 after falling 45 feet during a performance in Omaha, Nebraska.
The June 23 1,300-foot-long walk will take place between 1 Times Square and 2 Times Square. Nik and Lijana will start from opposite ends of the wire, meet and cross in the middle of Times Square, then continue to finish opposite of where they started. The live event will also feature video footage of the Wallendas’ history, preparation and exclusive interviews.
The live event will be on a short delay, as are most live broadcasts involving potential danger.
“It’s hard enough crossing Times Square on the ground, try it 25 stories up,” said Karey Burke, president, ABC Entertainment.
Nik Wallenda called the Times Square crossing “a lifelong dream” and an homage to his family’s first US performance, which took place in 1928 at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan. “I am beyond excited to be able to walk with my sister, Lijana, as she overcomes near-death injuries and continues the Wallenda tradition of never giving up!”
Highwire Live in Times Square with Nik Wallenda is produced by dick clark productions. Gretchen Eisele, Mark Bracco, Linda Gierahn, David Simone, Winston Simone, Shelley Ross and Nik Wallenda are executive producers.
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