Nik Wallenda prepares to walk across Niagara Falls

High-wire acrobats Delilah Wallenda, right, lowers her head as her son Nik Wallenda, left, crosses over her during their high-wire act where the two simultaneously walked across a 300-foot-long wire suspended 100 feet in the air on June 4, 2011, between two towers of the Conrad Condado Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico. They were honoring Nik's great-grandfather, Karl Wallenda, who tried to perform the same feat in 1978 but fell to his death at age 73. AP file photo

High-wire acrobats Delilah Wallenda, right, lowers her head as her son Nik Wallenda, left, crosses over her during their high-wire act where the two simultaneously walked between two towers of the Conrad Condado Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico on June 4, 2011.
Ricardo Arduengo

(CBS News) Nik Wallenda will perform the tightroping act of his life tonight, as he attempts to walk across a 1,800-foot, 2-inch steel cable that spans Niagara Falls for a live television event to air on ABC.

Pictures: Wallenda family shares risk-taking gene

The network has ensured that there will be no on-camera free fall, demanding that Wallenda wear a safety harness.

"We wanted it to be an exciting, family-friendly occasion," said ABC's senior vice president for content and development, James Goldston, according to reports in the Los Angeles Times. Wallenda isn't thrilled about the provision.

"I'm wearing a tether because they're making me wear a tether," Wallenda said at a news conference. "I don't trust it. It's not the way my mind works," he said of the safety apparatus.

This might come as a surprise to  those  familiar with  past tragedies in the famous family of high-wire artists .Among the victims of acrobatic mishaps was  Wallenda's grandfather Karl who fell to his death during a 1978 high-wire act in Puerto Rico.

Wallenda will start his walk from the U.S. side across three of Niagara Falls' cascades to Ontario. The event will air on ABC at 9 p.m. June 15.

  • Camille Mann

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