Celeb stunts drive Fox reality spec

'Daredevils' features stars performing 'death-defying' tasks

HOLLYWOOD — Fox — which struck Nielsen gold with “Celebrity Boxing” last spring — has convinced former NBA star Dennis Rodman to drive a car off a 200-foot cliff for the net’s next potential celeb reality franchise.

Dubbed “Celebrity Daredevils,” the one-hour special — set to bow Sept. 24 at 9 p.m., the first Tuesday of the 2002-03 season — will feature thesps and other media personalities performing what the net calls “death-defying stunts” for the entertainment of viewers.

In addition to Rodman’s auto acrobatics, Angie Everhart (“UC: Undercover”) will allow herself to be set on fire, while Lorenzo Lamas (“Renegade”) will do his best Evil Knievel and attempt a long-distance motorcycle jump. Latter two segs will be taped in advance, but Lamas’ jump will be broadcast live to the East Coast from Daytona Beach, Fla.

As a further lure for viewers, the “Daredevils” special will feature a new single from “American Idol” winner Kelly Clarkson determined by voting in an “Idol” concert spec the night before. During the Sept. 23 “Idol” spec, Fox viewers will determine an upcoming Clarkson single via a phone-in vote; the results will then be revealed on “Daredevils.”

Fox has only ordered a single one-hour special for “Daredevils,” though the net could easily order up more segs from exec producers Jeff Androsky and Carol Sherman of Tri-Crown Prods. “Celebrity Boxing” was a surprise smash last spring, causing Fox to immediately serve up another edition for May sweeps.

NBC has also had luck scoring ratings by making celebs do stupid things via special editions of the net’s Monday night hit “Fear Factor.”

Not surprisingly, Fox is going to great lengths to ensure the safety of the celebs. Rodman, for example, will eject from his car before it hits the ground, while Everhart will be wearing a flame-retardant suit.

Mark Thompson will host “Daredevils.”

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