Archive for the 'TV' Category

Magic Battered But Alive On AGT

Posted by Michael on September 11th, 2014

Last night’s America’s Got Talent results program was delayed in the eastern half of the country because of the President’s speech, but was shown in its entirety. As has become the format of the show, the three acts eligible for the Snapple Save online voting were announced. All were singers. Three acts were sent to the finals, and another three eliminated, before a magic act was on the chopping block. This left all three magic acts with only one finalist spot up for grabs. With Mike Super, Mat Franco and David and Leeman all on stage, it was Mat Franco who received the news he would appear in the AGT Finals next week. After the announcement judge Howard Stern opined that Franco (performing above in a promo piece for the jewelry store Alex and Ani) had a real shot at winning because the music fans would have their votes split among four acts, leaving Franco and acrobatic dance act Acro Army with a chance to stand out.

Congratulations to Mike Super and David and Leeman for their great runs on America’s Got Talent and good luck to Mat as he attempts to become the first magician to win America’s Got Talent.

Last Night’s Final AGT Magic Performance

Posted by Michael on September 10th, 2014

We will close out the afternoon with the final performance from last night’s Top 12 America’s Got Talent show. Mat Franco was second to last in the line up, but we will have to wait until tonight to see where he ends up in the voting!

Wizard Wars, Blaine In Asia And Much More [Magic Bulletin]

Posted by Michael on September 10th, 2014

The Lantern ran a very cool story about the P3 Magic Theater in Columbus, Ohio. That is where, every Tuesday night, shows are held to work out material and shoot footage for Penguin Magic releases. Check it out here. is reporting that Murray SawChuck will be adding another magician to his show this fall. Rob Anderson, his Wizard Wars team mate, will join the show at the Laugh Factory in the Tropicana.

Speaking of Wizard Wars, it was the subject of a Fast Company article yesterday. They spoke with Penn Jillette as well as contestants Adam Trent and Dan Sperry about magic and why it remains relevant in the 21st century. Over at, Mark Calabrese (who competed on the show last night with John Stessel against Billy Kidd and Leon Ettiene) was the subject of a nice profile.

David Blaine is touring Asia right now and Malaysian news site The Edge reviewed his show. He was joined by Yann Frisch and Todd Robbins.

Congratulations to Tony Chris who, as discussed in a recent Tri Cities Now article, won a silver for mentalism and the gold for stage magic at the recent Pacific Coast Association of Magicians competition.

Finally, Mike Super’s performance from last night’s America’s Got Talent is running above… tonight’s results show will reveal the fate of Super, David and Leeman and Mat Franco but it is scheduled to run at the same time as President Obama’s address to the nation in the Eastern and Central time zones. At time of writing, there was no word from NBC on whether the episode would be shown after the address or simply rescheduled.

AGT’s “Year Of The Magician”

Posted by Michael on September 10th, 2014

Last night during the his introduction of Mike Super, America’s Got Talent host Nick Cannon proclaimed in the “Year of the Magician.” With one quarter of the finalist being magic acts, it seems a more than fair statement! We will bring you all three acts on iTricks today, in the order they appeared on the show last night.

The second act of the evening was the magic duo of David and Leeman. They presented a lottery themed prediction that impressed the judges after a comedic introduction piece that showed them not being recognized as AGT performers. In a strategy employed by all three acts, they were sure to include Howard Stern in their act. Towards the middle of the show Mike Super took his turn on the stage, this week performing straight magic (again without Desmond). His act was essentially a double prediction of a randomly selected bill’s serial number using a deck of cards and a sealed envelope Super delivered to Howard Stern on the set of his radio program. There were some very minor technical issues with a lighter, but he got through them and also left the judges spellbound. Mat Franco took the penultimate spot. He started by employing a cannon to do a card on the ceiling bit. Franco then took a deck of cards and had Howard Stern sign a card, which was buried in the deck only to jump to the top several times before ending up in a box that had been placed under Mel B.’s phone earlier in the performance. Franco also received high praise from the judges.

Did any, or even all, of the magic acts do well enough to make it to next week’s finale? We will find out tonight in a results show that will also include AGT alum Jackie Evancho and The Muppets. You can still vote on until noon Eastern.

NPH Nuptials, Rangel Wins At TAOM And More [Magic Bulletin]

Posted by Michael on September 9th, 2014

First of all, iTricks would lack to congratulate Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka on their weekend marriage. Neil announced in on his Twitter account and posted the picture to the lower right.

As long as we are congratulating people, congratulation are in order to David Rangel for being named the Best Close Up Magician at the recent Texas Association of Magicians convention.

Rick Lax tweeted recently that one of the act’s on tonight’s Wizard Wars got the only standing ovation of the season. Could it be John Stessel? He was featured in his hometown paper yesterday and told of getting detention for practicing magic in class… Didn’t we all do that? Read his profile here on

Speaking of TV< Robin Leach said in a recent Las Vegas Sun article that Bill Malone will be featured on an episode of NCIS: Los Angeles that will air shortly before Halloween.

Don’t forget that there are three magic acts performing on tonight’s America’s Got Talent. Mike Super, David and Leeman and Mat Franco (listed in the order they advanced) will all make their attempt to get to next week’s final.

Finally, that video above is of Moein Al Bastaki, the United Arab Emirates magician. It was posted by Emirates 24/7 in conjunction with an interview in which Moein stresses some of the difficulties faved by magicians in the Arab world and recounts how some of his spectators are convinced that supernatural forces are at work.

Celebrating Joan Rivers

Posted by Michael on September 5th, 2014

iTricks was saddened to learn of the death of Joan Rivers yesterday. Of course, it comes as no shock after her recent health emergency, but it is still a real loss to the world of comedy. iTricks Editor Justin Robert Young picked out this classic 1986 interview from Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show to celebrate the comedic genius that was Joan Rivers.

Houdini Posts Decent Numbers And Other Magic TV Ratings

Posted by Michael on September 3rd, 2014

There are currently so many magic related shows on television that American magic fans have had to choose, for the first time in many years, between programs! The real question, though, is how well magic shows are doing in the ratings.

History Channel’s heavily touted Houdini brought in 3.7 million viewers for its opening installment Monday night (Tuesday ratings are unavailable at tie of writing). While these seem like big numbers, and it is the biggest opening for any cable miniseries so far this year according to The Hollywood Reporter, it is a mere fraction of the numbers posted by earlier History Channel mini-series such as 2012′s Hatfield and McCoys, which boasted almost 14 million viewers, or last year’s Bonnie and Clyde, which drew in almost 10 million. Still, Houdini had over twice the amount of viewers as the highly discussed Saved By The Bell movie on Lifetime.

Masters of Illusion on The CW is consistently bringing in over a million viewers each airing, which is not bad for the network. Penn and Teller: Fool Us actually tends to do a bit better, but ratings also tend to be higher on Wednesdays than Fridays when MoI airs. Both series seem to be winners for the network, particularly Fool Us as it was probably cheaper for The CW to purchase the rights to the series than it was to produce a new show. This may encourage more magical imports from the UK in the future.

SyFy’s Wizard Wars, which drew big numbers on its premiere a couple of weeks ago, is not doing quite as well each week as it did opening, but that is to be expected. It benefits from two airings on Tuesdays and an additional Friday night airing. Also, we have already seen casting calls for additional episodes so it is safe to assume we will be seeing more in the future. It is also possible that Wizard Wars may inspire SyFy to experiment with more magic. They have dabbled in both producing and importing magic shows in the past (in their SciFi days).

America’s Got Talent is not a magic show, but it has featured a great deal of magic this year. So far Mike Super and David and Leeman have advanced to the final twelve and tonight we will find out if Mat Franco and/or Smoothini (above) will join them. It is possible that one-third of the show’s twelve finalists could be magic acts! AGT has been doing very well so far this season, winning the week for total viewers on several occasions.

While these numbers are not necessarily huge by network television standards (with the exception of AGT, which is not truy a magic show), it does demonstrate that there is an audience for magic on American television. When one adds in other magic related shows that have already aired this year, such as Don’t Trust Andrew Mayne, The Carbonaro Effect and David Blaine’s Real or Magic special (which was one of the ratings highlights of ABC’s 2013-2014 season), it is apparent that magic is currently establishing a foothold in the television world.