ABC has picked up the competition series Ultimate Surfer, ordering eight episodes. The show will feature up-and-coming surfers training and living together as they battle it out at the World Surf League’s Surf Ranch in Lemoore, Calif.
Professional surfer Kelly Slater will be “on-air talent,” in ABC’s words, and special correspondent.
Production begins next year.
“In addition to being a globally recognized sport, surfing is also a lifestyle; and Ultimate Surfer will give viewers a uniquely personal look at what goes into becoming a world-class champion,” said Rob Mills, senior vice president, alternative series, specials and late night, ABC Entertainment. “We’re ecstatic about the opportunity to utilize Kelly’s world-class surf facility and his expertise in showcasing these incredibly talented on-the-rise athletes.”
Ultimate Surfer is produced by Lionsgate’s Pilgrim Media Group and WSL Studios. Pilgrim CEO and president Craig Piligian, WSL Studios president of Content and Media Erik Logan, and UFC president Dana White are executive producers.
“This is an unprecedented opportunity for two surfers (one man, one woman) to win an opportunity to compete against the best surfers in the world on the WSL Tour,” said Slater, the lead consultant for the series. “This will put some of the best up-and-comers against each other in a more direct way to see who stands above the rest, and Surf Ranch is obviously a great venue to use for Ultimate Surfer. I’m excited to watch how they step up to the challenge.”
The series comes out of the multiplatform co-development partnership between Pilgrim Media Group and WSL Studios.
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Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.