We mentioned this six-episode series (where seven celebrities are taught magic by professional magicians) ages ago but, according to the ELLUSIONIST BLOG, it's now officially going ahead. It was shot last year at The Magic Castle some time ago (and made headlines when one of the female magic coaches was accosted in her hotel room) but VH1 are now going to air it.
Max Maven and Jeff McBride will judge the celebrities on their performances (though actor/magician Jonathon Levit is apparently also judging as well as hosting the show) and, we expect, each week one will "vanish" from the competition.
As far as who the celebrities go, don't expect Tom Hanks or Oprah Winfrey, it looks like they are all musicians (which makes sense as VH1 is a music channel) and include singer Carnie Wilson (from the group Wilson Philips), singer/actor/comedian Hal Sparks, rapper/comedian Chris Kid Reid, and Kim Wyatt of The Pussycat Dolls. (I said "Who?" too). In her blog entry from Sep last year she said:
"Lately I’ve been putting all my time & energy into a new VH1 show that will be airing in January. It’s called ‘Celebracadabra’…haha. Hilarious name & its premise is MAGIC! Who doesn’t love magic!? I never knew how hard & how much brain & body power it takes to pull off a trick. But I’m having a blast!"
The magic coaches include David Regal, Murray Sawchuck, Franz Harary, and Rocco (who has his own Celebracadabra video channel on MySpace, and talks about starring in the show on his MySpace page. Tennessee magician Michael Keating says, in this article, he was a consultant on the show (though he may have been assisting Franz Harary). Mark Cannon is also credited as an "Escape Consultant". Jennifer Adams was involved as a magic coach, but had to pull out back in September.
The show, and it's $100,000 fiirst prize, is sponsored by Ellusionist. They'll also offer downloadable magic tricks to viewers at home throughout the series. While this will undoubtedly give Ellusionist a boost and ensure that magic tricks are owned by more people in America than ever before, will this help or hurt magic? The show airs in the USA in March, so time will tell.
You can get all the latest news on the show, and exclusive "backstage" clips, at the Ellusionist Blog, and Genii Magazine will feature the show in their February issue.