Sony Pictures Television is developing a new reality TV show where celebrities will compete to go into space aboard the XCOR Lynx spacecraft, according to various Hollywood websites such as Hollywood Reporter and Variety.
The series is titled Milky Way Mission and will feature ten celebrities living at an astronaut-training “boot camp.” The Dutch television network Nederland 1 has reportedly ordered an eight-episode run, which will be produced by Tuvalu Media and Simpel Media (both of which are Dutch). Sony will offer the series to international markets at the MIPCOM show in Cannes next month.
The producers are working with Space Expeditions Corporation, which is marketing the XCOR Lynx. SXC is also based in the Netherlands. The first season will feature Dutch celebrities, but the future episodes would be recast if it sells internationally.
Mark Burnett, producer of Survivor and The Voice, is reportedly seeking backers for a similar reality show, which would feature Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShip Two.
Burnett has been floating ideas for a space-based reality show for more than a decade. In 1999, he signed an agreement with MirCorp, which had leased the Russian Mir space station, to produce a show called Destination Mir. Unfortunately, the man behind MirCorp turned out to be a tax cheat, who went to prison for failing to pay over $200 million in taxes to the US government.
Earlier this year, Citizens in Space was approached by a reality-show producer at one one of the major US networks. Unfortunately, the producer wanted us to violate some known laws of physics (we were asked to make people weightless without leaving the ground), so nothing came of the discussion.