Branson ‘Space Race’ will go where no reality TV show has gone before

Can this idea even work? Don't bet against Sir Richard Branson or Mark Burnett. Photo: Virgin Galactic

SAN DIEGO, October 3, 2013 – From deserted desert islands to New York Fashion Week, there isn’t anywhere on Earth reality TV hasn’t gone. Where to go next?

Outer space, obviously.

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NBC announced it will work with Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, the world’s first commercial spaceline, and award-winning reality TV producer Mark Burnett’s One Three Media to create the new reality TV series called “Space Race.”

“Space Race” is a elimination competition type reality series in the same vein of Burnett’s “Survivor,” “Amazing Race,” and “The Celebrity Apprentice.” So-called “everyday people” will compete win a trip into space on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo. NBC reports “Space Race” will have unprecedented access to Virgin Galactic’s home in its state-of-the-art Spaceport America in New Mexico, the departure point and training and preparation center for space flights.

Paul Telegdy, President of Alternative and Late Night Programming, NBC Entertainment, said in a press statement, “The term ‘trip of a lifetime’ has for once been delivered on. This will be a remarkable experience for anyone who has looked at the night’s sky and dared to dream of Space Flight.”

Branson issued the following comment: “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.

Entrepreneur billionaire Sir Richard Branson. Photo: Courtesy Virgin Galactic/Google-Plus

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Branson said everyone at Virgin Galactic is delighted to be collaborating with Mark Burnett, a “true pioneer and creative force in television programming.” Burnett said for a decade he’s wanted to use a reality TV show to feature space exploration and give someone the chance to look back on the Earth from space.

“Last year I spent time in New Mexico at the state of the art facility and last week spent time in the Mojave desert with Sir Richard and his impressive team,” said Burnett. “We got to see the spaceship up close and hear of Sir Richard’s incredible vision of how Virgin Galactic is the future of private space travel.  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 too so that viewers at home will have a first class seat.” 

So how viable is this venture? Branson’s Virgin Galactic operation hopes to become the world’s first commercial spaceline. In 2004 Branson claimed the $10 million Ansari X Prize for the world’s first privately developed manned spacecraft. Virgin Galactic’s new vehicles are being built to carry six customers on suborbital space flights. Virgin Galastic says the vehicles will allow an out-of-the-seat, zero-gravity experience with “astounding views of the planet from the black sky of space for tourist astronauts and a unique microgravity platform for researchers” according to news releases. 

The VSS Enterprise and VMS Eve test flight program is well under way, leading to Virgin Galactic commercial operations, which will be based at Spaceport America in New Mexico. To date, the company has accepted nearly $80 million in deposits from approximately 640 individuals for a seat on Virgin Galactic’s first commercial spaceflights. The winner of “Space Race” will apparently snag one of those first seats.  

The series will be shopped around at the upcoming MIPCOM TV market in Cannes which starts on October 7. MIPCOME is a global market for entertainment content across all platforms, where programming such as this proposed series is sold to content providers.

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Media Migraine in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +

Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities at” when quoting from or linking to this story.   

Copyright © 2013 by Falcon Valley Group

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Gayle Falkenthal

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, MS, APR, is President of the Falcon Valley Group, a San Diego based communications consulting firm. Falkenthal is a veteran award winning broadcast and print journalist, editor, producer, talk host and commentator. She is an instructor at National University in San Diego, and previously taught in the School of Journalism & Media Studies at San Diego State University.


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