The long, strange history of Reality TV Space Missions
There is actually a long history of people pushing reality television ideas involving spaceflight only to have them fall apart. Believe it or not, that idea goes back at least fifteen years. In 2000, Mark Burnett, the producer of numerous successful reality television shows, most notably “Survivor,” proposed “Destination: Mir.” Burnett wanted to fly the winner of a reality show competition to the Russian space station aboard a Soyuz spacecraft. NBC actually announced that the show would be on its 2001 schedule. But something happened and apparently Burnett couldn’t really strike a deal with the company then operating Mir, MirCorp. Amsterdam-based MirCorp announced plans for its own show called “Ancient Astronaut,” but nothing ever came of it. MirCorp failed to keep the station aloft (and one of their leaders ended up in federal prison). After the Mir space station was deorbited, Burnett renamed his show “Destination: Space,” featuring a flight to the International Space Station instead. The reputed price tag for the show was $50 million. But Burnett’s project never made it to television.