Life on a Wire



Kids might be tempted to copy family of stunt performers.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Family, tradition, and safety are major themes in the show. Nik and his family pray prior to his performances.

Positive role models

Terry's first priority is Nik's safety. He also demands to be spoken to respectfully by his adult son.


Frequent replays of footage showing Nik Wallenda’s great grandfather, Karl, falling to his death from a highwire. Nik and Terry constantly argue.

Not applicable

Words like “hell” audible; “f--k,” “s--t” are bleeped.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this series features dangerous stunts performed without safety nets or other protection, and images of performers getting hurt and/or killed (in the past). Parents may want to emphasize to young viewers that these stunts should never be attempted in real life. Strong language ("s--t," "f--k") is bleeped. The series also contains positive messages about the importance of family.

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What's the story?

LIFE ON A WIRE features stunt performer Nik Wallenda, the 7th generation of the legendary high wire artists known as the Great Wallendas, as he plans and performs daredevil acts designed to entertain audiences and break world records. With the help of uncle and engineer Mike Wallenda, and his safety coordinator and father, Terry Wallenda, Nik uses science, skill, and discipline to create and execute death-defying stunts like riding a bicycle on a cable suspended over 200 feet in the air and walking the world’s longest high wire, all without safety harnesses or nets. Also helping him with his feats are mom Delilah and wife Erendira. There’s lots of hair-raising moments, but at the end of the day it’s all part of the family business.

Is it any good?


The series offers an interesting look at what goes into some of the most spectacular stunts ever performed. It also offers a rather tense look at the Wallenda family legacy, which includes some tragic stories of failed stunts and the fatal fall of great grandfather, Karl.

Nik offers some limited explanations about what inspires them to continue the family tradition, but often does so while voicing his concerns about safety, and how his family would be affected if he got hurt or killed. As a result, his antics sometimes feel irresponsible and selfish rather than inspiring. Viewers will no doubt root for Nik as he works on perfecting his act, but they may also be wondering why he risks his life to do them.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about stunt performers. What drives them to do the things that they do? How do they cope with the knowledge that they could be injured or die if a stunt goes wrong?

  • Knowing that people may try to imitate them, is it socially responsible to showcase stunts like these in the media? What is the difference (if any) between a stunt show like this, and a show like Jackass?

TV details

Cast:Mike Wallenda, Nik Wallenda, Terry Wallenda
Network:Discovery Channel
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:Streaming

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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