NBC is planning a competition show with a grand prize that’s out of this world: a ride into space.
The network said Thursday it is teaming with Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and veteran TV producer Mark Burnett on “Space Race,” a competition where the winner gets a ride on the space liner that is expected to begin commercial flights sometime next year. NBC offered no estimate on when “Space Race” would air.
“The term ‘trip of a lifetime’ has for once been delivered on,” said Paul Telegdy, NBC’s president of alternative and late-night programming. “This will be a remarkable experience for anyone who has looked at the night’s sky and dared to dream of space flight.”
Virgin has been testing its rocket-powered space vehicle this year, with pilots reaching a height of 69,000 feet on a Sept. 5 flight that landed in the Mojave Desert near Virgin Galactic’s facility there. Virgin has said the goal is to begin commercial flights next year, with Branson and his family taking the first ride. Virgin has already collected $80 million in deposits from 640 people interested in experiencing the weightlessness of space. Burnett, the producer behind “The Voice” and “Survivor,” promised that “viewers at home will have a first-class seat.”
Sinéad to Miley: I am concerned
Irish chanteuse Sinéad O’Connor has waded into the Miley Cyrus controversy, warning the young singer to avoid being sexually exploited by the music industry. O’Connor posted an open letter to Cyrus after Cyrus said she had modeled her “Wrecking Ball” video on O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U.” She warned the former “Hannah Montana” star that it would be self-defeating to market her sexuality. “I am extremely concerned for you that those around you have led you to believe, or encouraged you in your own belief, that it is in any way ‘cool’ to be naked and licking sledgehammers in your videos,” O’Connor wrote in reference to the “Wrecking Ball” video. She also cautions Cyrus that the music business will exploit her and then abandon her. Cyrus responded on Twitter by mentioning O’Connor’s struggles with bipolar disorder. In a reference to actress Amanda Bynes, who has been treated in a psychiatric hospital, Cyrus tweeted: “Before Amanda Bynes … There was … ” and posted O’Connor’s tweets about seeking psychiatric help.
‘Year of the baby’: Hillary Rodham Clinton may or may not run for president. But daughter Chelsea is hoping to bestow another title on her: grandmother. The daughter of Hillary and former President Bill Clinton told Glamour magazine that she and her husband, Marc Mezvinsky, are hoping to start a family — “God willing.” She said her mother asks about their baby plans “every single day.” Chelsea Clinton, 33, said in the November issue that 2014 will be “the year of the baby.” She is vice chairwoman of the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation.