This article is from the archive of our partner .

Nik Wallenda, an aerialist and member of the Flying Wallendas family, is slated to walk a tightrope across Niagara Falls Friday night on ABC's 20/20, and whatever happens, the network is very prepared. Here's the contingency plan, as highlighted by Reuters' Neale Gulley:

ABC, the television network that will broadcast the event with a five-second delay, has insisted he wear a safety tether - a first for the performer - that will connect him to the cable should he fall, and will stop broadcasting if he unhooks it.

Wallenda fought the condition at first, eventually agreeing. But he gave himself an out: he will unhook only if directed to do so by his father, who designed the harness and will act as his safety coordinator.

So let us get this straight: We are now facing a situation in which a guy is going to walk out over a giant waterfall on a piece of cord, then ask his dad whether he should unhook himself, all with a national network potentially cutting us off from watching if he does? 

The strangest detail in Reuter's report is as follows: "If the harnessed Wallenda falls, ABC will switch its cameras to a wider angle and begin covering the entertainment event as a news story, [ABC News senior vice president Jeffrey] Schneider said." So, it'll be all fun and games unless Wallenda fails to accomplish his life goal in front of an international audience: Then it's breaking news! Either way, sounds like a fun Friday night. Tune it at 8 p.m. EST.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to