TV Review: ‘Splash’

TV Review: 'Splash'

ABC opted to go with the title “Splash” instead of the more self-explanatory “Celebrity Diving,” perhaps because a close reading of FDA guidelines would prohibit using the term “celebrity” with this field. More like an imitation celebrity product, containing some celebrity and meat filler. On the plus side, the show looked a tad better than Fox’s slapdash, get-there-first effort “Stars in Danger: The High Dive,” and the imported format — which premiered Tuesday, without advance preview — is at least compatible with “Dancing With the Stars.” On the down side, that earlier effort sank so fast in the ratings, it must have been tempting to try to sweeten this one by having at least one dive with no water in the pool.

The one-hour premiere was rather oddly constructed, in part because only half of the 10 participants actually dove, with one voted off before the second half hit the pool next week. Presumably, a two-hour launch would have allowed for a full quorum, but ABC probably didn’t want to risk introducing a concept with such limited wattage without a “Dancing”-adjacent boost.

Beyond that, there was an “Everybody wins” quality to the festivities, which appears to have been cast with a combination of desperation and a fun-house mirror: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar because he’s tall, Louie Anderson because he’s obese, “Chelsea Lately’s” Chuy Bravo because he’s tiny, Miss Alabama Katherine Webb because she looks great in a swimsuit and Brent Musburger leered at her during the BCS championship football game.

The two judges — Olympic champ David Boudia and former diver/coach Steve Foley — sought to be relentlessly positive, but as Fox discovered, if people like watching graceful diving every four years during the Summer Games, it’s hard to make bad diving truly interesting. The show did feature one of the more hilarious commercial breaks in recent memory, building up toward Anderson’s leap as if he was going to empty the pool, then cutting away at the last possible moment.

Seemingly determined to stick around awhile, Anderson said he was doing it “for the troops.” By contrast, former “The Cosby Show” kid Keshia Knight Pulliam gave the impression she was just looking to escape with her dignity intact, and then go fire her agent.

Ultimately, “Splash” is little more than an oddity, a poorly cast diversion to try keeping a percentage of the “Dancing” audience (which is already pretty geriatric, in TV-demo terms) tuned to ABC a little bit longer. Given the lineup of divers and the level of competition, it’s hard to see this spring fling doing much more than helping the network tread water.

Still, there was one moment of perhaps unintended honesty during the telecast, when Foley admiringly told Abdul-Jabbar — the former Lakers and UCLA star, who is now 65 — that at his age, “You should be home watching ‘Splash’ on TV.”

Nailed it.


(Series; ABC, Tue. March 19, 8 p.m.)

Hosts: Joey Lawrence, Charissa Thompson. Judges: David Boudia, Steve Foley. Coach: Greg Louganis. Stars: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Louie Anderson, Drake Bell, Chuy Bravo, Rory Bushfield, Nicole Eggert, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Ndamukong Suh, Katherine Webb, Kendra Wilkinson

 Produced by Eyeworks USA. Executive producers,  JD Roth, Todd A. Nelson, Brant Pinvidic, Josh Greenberg; director, Rich DiPirro. 60 MIN.

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  1. Ken says:

    Give me a break Louie gets 7 1/4 for falling off the plank and a 5 for a close forward 1 1/2. I’m done watching.

  2. jessica dean says:

    I watched it because I do not have It was like a train wreck that I could not stop watching! They were extremely harsh on Keisha. I wanted to cry for her. It was so unfair and seemed a bit set up. What a terrible way to start a show. They lost viewers before the show began and I was part of the few that watched. ‘Throwbacks get throwed in water’ or maybe the should have been called ‘KAPLUNK’

  3. how do they figure averages because they way I figure them is way different

  4. David says:

    This show is not competitive and reveals bias and favoritism throughout the show. Nicole the Baywatch girl got one of the highest scores and did a belly flop into the water. Drake Bell practices for weeks and did over 3000 practice dives. His dive was pretty good and he got the same score! What a joke, this show is not going to last. I turned it off, NEVER to watch it again!

  5. michelle says:

    What a dumb show…it should be canceled!!!!

  6. michelle says:

    What a stupid show. THIS SHOW NEEDS TO BE CANCELED!!!!! I again with Kathy…Keisha should have stayed….

  7. Kathy says:

    BELLY FLOP! Unfair judging, non-understandable scoring methods. Keisha should have stayed and Anderson or Kareem go! WIERD!!! I don’t think it’s going to get any better.

  8. lucy loo says:

    Who ever thought of his show and the lame so called celebrities should grab the 1st bus back to Ohio or Iowa or whatever rock they crawled out of! WORST EVER! And why does Joey Lawrence look like a dead person made up by a brand new mortician.
    There is your new idea… Mortician to the stars! 1st time make up artists for the dead compete to make them look more alive that Joey Lawrence,
    Sorry, when did he die???

  9. Dman says:

    The judging was extremely unfair. I wont be watching again!

  10. You mean someone actually WATCHED this??? Seriously? Was it out of morbid curiosity? I’m honestly curious why anyone would waste their time on this particular program. Instead of calling it “Splash” it should be called “D-Listers Desperately Diving for Dollars.”

  11. Betty says:

    After viewing this show and its totally biased judging – I will NOT be watching again. Keisha scored less than an L shaped face plant???!!!

  12. David D. says:

    The scoring seems hopelessly flawed which makes the competiviness factor somewhat of a joke.

  13. angie s. says:

    I love this show very nice for a reality show that’s not stupid but the judges were way too hard on keisha — she scored the lowest and did a harder dive than some of others..let’s be fair guys a handstand is not easy for most.

  14. jessica cowgill says:

    It seemed like they were giving points for everything but their actual diving. We found it not worth watching again.

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