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NBC’s Ultimate Slip ‘N’ Slide shut down over shitty situation

NBC’s reality competition Ultimate Slip ‘N’ Slide, based on the backyard water slide, shut down production last week after dozens of crew members became sick.

NBC is planning to premiere the show Aug. 8, after the Summer Olympics’ closing ceremonies, and in the announcement of the Wipeout-like series, described it like this:

A fresh take on Wham-O’s iconic 1960s outdoor game, this wet-and-wild new series takes the spirit of the classic backyard slide and transforms it into a real-life water park full of gigantic slippery rides with the chance to take home a big cash prize. […]

Featuring pairs of siblings, best friends, couples and co-workers, teams from all walks of life will compete in multiple hilarious rounds of games, including Human Pong, Body Bowling, Cornhole, Bocce Fall and many more. The two teams that make it to the final challenge will take on the Big Slipper, a colossal multi-part slide meant for only the bravest and boldest players as it determines who will earn the title of Slip ‘N Slide champion and take home the cash prize.   

Ultimate Slip ‘N’ Slide is now looking for a new location because of the presence of the parasite Giardia intestinalis, which WebMD says causes “an intestinal disease marked by diarrhea, cramps, nausea, and bloating.” The set features what a press release quote described as “an extraordinary 65-foot-tall slippery yellow slide,” which would be smaller than the 100-foot centerpiece of USA Network’s Cannonball, which aired last year.

A contestant flies off the end of the megaslide, the centerpiece challenge on Cannonball
Like USA Network’s Cannonball, NBC’s Ultimate Slip N Slide features a giant water slide. (Photo by Photo by Eddy Chen/NBC/USA Network)

The awful news about Ultimate Slip N Slide was first reported Thursday night by Matt Belloni in his newsletter, What I’m Hearing, which said contestants and hosts Bobby Moynihan and Ron Funches were fine, but “at least a dozen” crew members became sick.

In a story late Friday, The Wrap added that “The studio said that the outbreak occurred after seven weeks of shooting, with another five days still left to shoot,” and “”up to 40 crew members fell violently ill.” A source told The Wrap that those people had “awful explosive diarrhea”and were “collapsing” or “being forced to run into port-o-potties.” The story also noted that “many original crew members are reluctant to return to the shoot and blame the production for not ensuring that fresh, clean water was used on set.”

Belloni reported that a “source on set complained to me that NBC has been murky on the severity of the outbreak,” while “NBC says the water at the rural location has tested negative in recent days, including a well and a pond on site, the slide pool and restroom sinks. But today a test in the surrounding area came back poopy—er, positive—so the search is underway for a new shooting location.”

Universal Television Alternative Studios, which is producing the show, said this a statement:

“The health and safety of everyone on our set is our number one priority, so out of an abundance of caution we have made the decision to stop production of Ultimate Slip ‘N Slide at the current location. We are in the process of determining next steps in order to complete production.”

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  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means. Learn more about Andy.