Facing War, NBC Delays 'Around the World' Show
Fri Feb 28, 3:29 AM ET
By Josef Adalian
HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - The possibility of U.S. military action against Iraq has prompted NBC to delay production on its global relationship series "Around the World in 80 Dates."
NBC head of alternative programming Jeff Gaspin and executive producer Bruce Nash made the joint decision just two weeks before production on the show was set to begin.
The series takes a single guy and flies him around the world, allowing him to hook up with new potential gal pals from different countries.
"We've been talking for weeks about impending war, and the idea of taking the contestants and crew away from their family at a time when war could break out," Gaspin said. "We decided to push the show and not put anybody in harm's way."
Gaspin would not specify which countries the show had planned to visit except to say there were no plans "to pass through Iraqi airspace or probably anywhere within 1,000 miles of Iraq."
Still, in addition to worrying about terrorism and war, NBC and Nash were concerned about anti-American sentiment affecting the tone of the show.
"The way the show works, we have to take the winners out of their country and bring them back to the U.S.," Gaspin said.
NBC's eight-episode commitment to "80 Dates" remains in place, though a new production start date is up in the air.