Virgin Galactic Inks Reality TV Deal With NBC, Mark Burnett
October 4, 2013

New Reality TV Show’s Prize Is Truly Out Of This World

[ Watch the Video: A Reality Show With An Out Of This World Prize ]

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

NBC and Virgin Galactic are joining forces to develop a reality television program that will allow contestants to compete for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to travel into outer space.

The program, which will be known as “Space Race”, was announced on Thursday. It will partner the peacock network and the Sir Richard Branson-owned commercial space-travel service with veteran reality TV producer Mark Burnett (Survivor, Shark Tank, The Voice), according to the Associated Press (AP).

“'Space Race' is a groundbreaking, elimination competition series where everyday people compete for the ultimate prize – a trip for the winner into space on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo for a life-changing experience few people have ever enjoyed, all captured on camera,” NBC officials said in a statement. “'Space Race' will have unprecedented access to Virgin Galactic’s home in the state-of-the-art Spaceport America in New Mexico, the departure point and training and preparation center for space flights.”

Burnett told the AP that he has wanted to make a show that rewards a regular person with a voyage into space for at least a decade. While previous finales of his programs have aired live, it is unclear whether or not such a broadcast would be possible with for the winner of “Space Race,” the wire service added. Currently, the network has not provided any information as to when the first episode of the show might premiere.

“I spent a day in the Mojave desert with Sir Richard and his impressive team. We got to see the space ship up close and hear of Sir Richard’s incredible vision of how Virgin Galactic is the future of private space travel,” Burnett said in a statement “I am thrilled to be part of a series that will give the everyday person a chance to see space and that NBC has come on board to so that viewers at home will have a first class seat.”

“Virgin Galactic’s mission is to democratize space, eventually making commercial space travel affordable and accessible to all. ‘Space Race’ allows us to extend this opportunity of a lifetime to as many people as possible right at the start of our commercial service – through direct experience and television viewing,” Branson added. “[We] are delighted to be collaborating with NBC and Mark, who is a true pioneer and creative force in television programming.”

Pilots successfully reached heights of 69,000 feet in SpaceShipTwo during a September 5 flight, which culminated in the Mojave Desert near the Virgin Galactic’s facility there. Branson’s company hopes to begin commercial flights in 2014, with the entrepreneur and his family expected to be the first passengers. Virgin Galactic has collected deposits totaling $80 million for 640 potential space tourists, the news agency added.