Published April 24, 2013
LOS ANGELES – When it comes to the health of its contestants, ABC’s reality diving show “Splash” is doing a big belly flop.
Nicole Eggert is the latest celebrity to sustain an injury while participating in the reality competition after reportedly attempting a dive with several back flips, and ending up with a back-first crash into the water.
“Thnx for all the love,” the former "Baywatch" star tweeted last week, adding that she has “swelling and bruising” on her back and kidneys.
A photo on TMZ provided some gruesome proof of the former.
Earlier in the season, Eggert also suffered minor injuries after trying to perform a handstand into a dive, joining a long list of hurt contestants. “Chelsea Lately’ assistant Chuy Bravo was the first to leave “Splash” after fracturing his foot during practice. Former pro-skier Rory Bushfield ruptured an eardrum during a practice dive, and pageant queen Katherine Webb quit the series due to injury.
Former “Girls Next Door” sensation Kendra Wilkinson also hung up her towel for good after announcing she was not willing to continue because she feared attempting a dangerous dive.
“I can’t believe how many injuries are occurring. It doesn’t seem too much more dangerous than ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ and it’s not as dangerous as ‘Survivor’ or ‘The Amazing Race’ and other similarly big challenge shows,” a reality program developer told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column. “How the cast is bumbling around and hurting themselves to the extent of leaving the show, has me wondering. I hope for integrity sake that it’s not a built-in publicity plan to keep people’s attention, or if the show was just too much for non-professional divers.”
Other industry experts say the danger is part of the show.
“It’s actually a simple concept. If there’s no challenge to the show, then it would be boring and nobody would watch. It is definitely a candidate for a second season,” explained reality star agent Marc Marcuse of Reel Management. “There’s no real reason to the pull the show based on a single injury. Jennifer Grey had to undergo surgery after her appearance on ‘Dancing With the Stars’ and nobody is calling for that to be pulled. The cast will usually sustain various injuries on a physical show like this, but it’s not like Nicole lost her spleen… yet.”
Entertainment attorney David Albert Pierce of Pierce Law Group said production companies and networks avoid liability with a 15-20 page long form contract.
“This (contract) has become standard and contains clause after clause asserting that the participant knowingly accepts the danger and waives his/her rights to sue having knowingly, voluntarily assumed the risk,” he continued. “Contestants (be they celebrities or average citizens) often display a certain over-willingness to put their lives in the hands of others. Contestants believe that the production companies fully know what they are doing and genuinely would never permit them to get hurt.”
But Pierce stressed that what contestants need to remember is that the production teams are just people, and while no one consciously wants anyone to get hurt, the whole idea of some of these shows is that danger brings ratings.
“If Olympians can get hurt, then out-of-shape actors can get as hurt, and just as easily, if not more,” he said.
ABC responded to a comment request with a statement from the production company, Eyeworks USA, ensuring great safety precautions are taken.
"Safety is the number one priority for 'Splash.' We work closely with top trainers and coaches, including the legendary Greg Louganis and the USA Diving organization. Diving is a serious and demanding sport, as we've shown on the show each week. All of the contestants have been provided the best possible medical evaluation and care. We applaud their fierce commitment to their training and the efforts they have shown in mastering the challenges of diving."
The potential for injury also raises the question of how far some stars are willing to go in an effort to return and/or stay in the spotlight, and bank a few bucks in the process.
“Different people do different shows for different reasons. Some are desperate for fame, of course, but others want to challenge themselves and try something that few people get the opportunity to do,” Marcuse added.
“Splash” started strong, attracting an audience of 8.8 million when it premiered five weeks ago, but lately is looking dead in the water, last week logging just 5.2 million viewers.
"A show about diving is only fun to watch for a while," noted Hollywood-based personal manager and publicist Roger Neal. "After a while if that's the only component to the show it could get boring to viewers, unless the stars are huge and in this case so far they have not been big names.”