Sony Pictures Television (SPT) is to unveil a new format called Milky Way Mission at MIPCOM, offering broadcasters the opportunity to send contestants into space for the first time in television history. The announcement follows an exclusive agreement between SPT and Space Expedition Corporation (SXC), which is launching a space travel programme for civilians in 2014 and will provide seats on its space flights to participating broadcasters.
Milky Way Mission was created by Tuvalu Media and Simpel Media, which have already secured the format’s first commission with Dutch network Nederland 1 for an eight episode, one-hour series. The format sees 10celebrities living in a special bootcamp where they undergo a rigorous and intensive training programme in preparation to become an astronaut. Each week the stars face a series of extreme physical and mental challenges to avoid elimination, with final rounds taking place at the launch site in Mojave, California. From G-force simulation to extreme underwater challenges, the aspiring astronauts have to fight to stay in the competition and win the ultimate prize of a trip into space.
“I can’t even begin to describe how excited we are about this format. Having the world’s most famous pop-stars, athletes and movie stars compete to become an SXC astronaut is literally going to be out of this world,” says Michiel Mol, SXC Founder.
SXC is based in The Netherlands and was established to offer commercial travel into space while also serving the goals of science, research and education. Its XCOR Lynx Mark II spacecraft take off and land horizontally, reaching an altitude of more than 100km (338,000ft) and transporting one passenger and one pilot per flight. SXC’s Advisory Board includes veteran astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Air France KLM Vice Chairman Peter Hartman, and former Chief of Defence for the Netherlands General Dick Berlijn.
“For years people have dreamt about the possibility of a show in space. SPT is now poised to make that dream real, thanks to the engineering genius of SXC and the format brilliance of Tuvalu and Simpel. While over 100 billion humans have walked the Earth, just a handful have looked back at our planet from space and we will soon be adding to that lucky elite. Testing endurance, agility and bravery, Milky Way Mission is a television format that is genuinely out of this world,” says Wayne Garvie, chief creative officer of international production at SPT.