Fox has pulled the plug on its planned live special that was going to feature professional stuntman Eddie Braun and daredevil Big Ed Beckley trying to jump across Idaho’s Snake River Canyon to mark the 40th anniversary of Evel Knievel’s failed attempt to leap over the 2,300-foot-deep 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. 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 target date for the special was October 27, when the days are shorter and weather often is unpredictable, making lighting and other logistics for a primetime special difficult and expensive to pull off. 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 cancelled after a deadly avalanche at the summit.