It’s certainly a throwback to Fox’s thumb-in-the-eye past: ABC announces a celebrity diving series, so Fox rushes on a knockoff special, “Stars in Danger: The High Dive,” to try making a splash (heh heh) first.
Other than the scheduling, though, the resulting two-hour program (not made available prior to its Jan. 9 airing) was pretty standard fare, featuring celebs of such limited appeal one suspects several of them would have taken the plunge to extend their 15 minutes of fame even if they weren’t assured there was water in the pool — although given his past, let’s not give Fox reality guru Mike Darnell any ideas.
On top of that (and I suppose this is a spoiler if it’s still in your DVR menu), “Jersey Shore’s” Jenni “Jwoww” Farley didn’t dive at all, having sustained an injury (uh huh) during the training.
Admittedly, diving is one of those sports that carries a higher degree of difficulty than ballroom dancing, and the Olympic tie-in should possess a touch of male appeal “Dancing With the Stars” lacks, if the skimpy suits aren’t enough incentive. (At least there’s a good chance Brent Musburger will tune in.)
Frankly, the show’s one opportunity to strike a chord has to do with a basic thought I’ve always had while watching the Olympics — namely, how does someone coax himself to not just leap off a platform for the first time, but spin and flip and somersault. Of course, the title was something of a cheat, since nobody braved the 10-meter platform, confining their heroics to the 5-meter one and 3-meter springboard.
Still, I’d take my hats off to the contestants, were it not for host Kyle Martino and teeth-gnashingly-annoying interviewer Becky Baeling positively drooling all over them. Look, “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” sisters Kim and Kyle Richards basically just fell into the pool. There’s no reason to try pretending they’re Greg Louganis. (Martino also referred to it as “do or dive” time, and someone at Bunim/Murray Prods. should lose their WGA card over that line.)
Lord knows what the ratings will be, but I suspect Fox hasn’t done much to preempt ABC’s series. Although my favorite part happened near the outset, when the “stars” dramatically tossed off their robes, then strode across a little shelf that almost made it look like they were walking on water.
Now, if the producers of either show could get someone who can actually walk on water to participate, they might have a genuine attraction on their hands.