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Criss Angel to go global on new TV series as ‘Believe’ marks five years


Tom Donoghue/

Believe” by Criss Angel and Cirque du Soleil at the Luxor photographed in January 2013.

'Believe' by Criss Angel and Cirque du Soleil

Launch slideshow »

Criss Angel

Criss Angel Launches

Criss Angel launches at Bare Pool Lounge in the Mirage on Monday, Aug. 15, 2011. Launch slideshow »

Criss Angel's Birthday and 1,000th Believe Show

Criss Angel's birthday and 1,000th Believe performance at the Luxor on Dec. 11, 2010. Launch slideshow »

Superstar magician Criss Angel is returning to television with a bang that is no illusion and simultaneously in the second of two multimillion-dollar deals this week will have his line of magic tricks Criss Angel Presents distributed around the world.

“We are back -- bigger and badder,” Criss said. “It’s going to be a brand new look, feel and concept. We’ll go behind magic and into a secret society. We’ll have the how and the wow factor with an incredible cast and guest celebrities.

“We’ll show the process of how magic is conceived and constructed and unveil the principles used, and you’ll even learn some amazing tricks. Plus, I’ll attempt the most incredible mind-blowing demonstrations of my career.”

The 11 one-hour-episode series will start airing weekly this fall on Spike, available in 100 million homes, and globally via parent company Viacom. The title of the new series will be released later.

Vegas DeLuxe has learned that it is the most ambitious and expensive magic TV series ever undertaken. Criss was juggling several offers from networks until everything fell into place and details were finalized over the last three months.

Spike Executive VP of Original Series Sharon Levy officially announced the new programming in New York today. “We are excited to give our viewers never before granted access into the inner workings of his secret world and his mind.”

Before leaving for a Mexico vacation Monday, Criss told me exclusively: “When I return Feb. 5, we go right into production. We have eight weeks of a think tank and pre-production. I’m putting together the most exciting magic dream team, and they are flying in from all over the globe. Some are returning from ‘Mindfreak’ in a reunion, but, all combined, it will be the ultimate superstar magic dream team.

“I’ve created about 200 concepts myself, but the goal is to get the very best from them, too, and we’ll wind up with a total of 110 demonstrations for the series.” Criss is building everything in his Magic Factory in Las Vegas.

The think tank will be followed by 12 weeks of filming in and around Las Vegas and other U.S. locations. As director and executive producer, Criss will oversee the editing at his 60,000-square-foot studio complex here for an October premiere coinciding with the fifth anniversary of his show “Believe” from Cirque du Soleil at the Luxor.

Alex Beifield from Britain’s BBC ranked “Believe” as “the only A+-rated magic show in Vegas, and I’ve seen them all.” He added, “Not only is Criss Angel the best magician, but he has the best magic show in the world.” We posted a report about the new illusions in “Believe” and a new photo gallery by Tom Donoghue on Jan. 16.

Criss also is finding time in his insane work schedule to add illusions, costumes and a hybrid of dub step and rock music to “Believe,” which already features more than 40 of the most spectacular illusions ever performed.

Sharon added: “We are thrilled to be able to showcase the amazing talents of Criss Angel. He is a perfect fit for our evolving adult brand. “

Criss said: “I couldn’t ask for a better home. I’m honored to be part of this family. There couldn’t be a better fit; they are the best.”

She promises viewers that the new series will provide unprecedented access to the design and execution of never-before-seen, death-defying stunts and supernatural abilities. “Criss has been revolutionizing the art of magic for the past decade.

“But now in these specials, he takes his illusions and demonstrations to an entirely new level and with an entirely new look and feel. Each week, Criss will attempt bold and audacious demonstrations and incredible feats never attempted by any mystifier in history.

“For the first time ever in any magic programming, Criss will reveal the creative process beyond all the magic as the audience goes behind closed doors with the think tank brainstorming the most spectacular illusions in history. The astonishing physical stunts will challenge the very laws of nature.”

Criss, who has performed more hours of magic on prime time TV than any other magician, says the monumental undertaking will require him to be in the best physical condition of his life. “I have been training intensively for the past six months and eating clean. When we start production, it will be nine nonstop months of weights and cardio fitness. I do an hour every morning, and then the two shows at night are a real workout.”

Oprah Winfrey, Jay Leno and Lance Burton are just three of the many celebrities who have commented on his work as the greatest illusionist in the world. “The best magic show in the world,” Lance said.

Criss admits that he faces an intense schedule: “I needed the break after we completed over 100 episodes of ‘Mindfreak.’ We needed to recharge and plan something completely new. This will be a whole new approach, look and feel and nothing to do with ‘Mindfreak.’ My first ‘Mindfreak’ TV special came out more than 10 years ago -- I’ve grown so much as an artist and as a person and am overflowing with drive, passion and commitment to realize my vision in this next chapter.”

TV executives say the new TV series will prove Criss is the greatest magician of all time. Named Magician of the Century by his peers, he’s already the most watched magician in TV and Internet history. His “Walk on Water” YouTube clip has generated more than 46 million views, and all of his clips combined have generated more than 200 million views. “Believe” is the bestselling live magic show in the world. And he has more than 5.5 million likes/followers on Facebook and Twitter, more than any magician.

This past weekend, Criss signed an exclusive multimillion-dollar worldwide distribution deal with Fun Inc./Royal Magic Distribution. He will transform his operation with its retail site into a hub for a once-a-month line of products that will be sold worldwide through Fun Inc.’s dealer affiliates.

“MagicPlace far exceeded our mandate, and that’s a testament to my incredible team,” he said. “We are thrilled to work with Fun and share the same sentiment that we want do some really exciting and innovative things for the magic community. … The Criss Angel Presents product line features some of the best original magic available, and some of it is featured on the new TV series. It’s all about coming together with global synergy.”

Criss, named Magician of the Year six times and winner of the Living Legend Award, summed up: “Life is death without change. We couldn’t do the magic of the new television shows at the time of the ‘Mindfreak’ series. It took everything I’ve experienced and learned up till this moment to come back bigger, badder and more explosive than ever before.”

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

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