Las Vegas Sun

November 19, 2018

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Strip Scribbles: Criss Angel’s new TV series goes global, puts Las Vegas on world stage


Cashman Photography

Criss Angel, with fiancee Sandra Gonzalez, celebrates the fifth anniversary of his Cirque du Soleil show “Believe” at the Luxor on Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, at a party at Rx Boiler Room in Mandalay Place.

Criss Angel’s ‘Believe’ on Spike TV

Criss Angel’s “Believe” on Spike TV.

Launch slideshow »

Magician Criss Angel’s continued success with his bestselling magic show “Believe” at Luxor has led to the successful launch of his new Spike TV network series, so much so that discussions for a Season 2 of “Believe” are already underway. More importantly, though, the recently premiered series has already become Spike’s most-watched new original series in more than 18 months. It ranked among the Top 10 cable shows in its time period among the crucially important viewers ages 18 to 49.

“Criss has delivered Spike a new hit series featuring the No. 1 magician in the past decade with the strongest global following in the art of magic,” said Eddie Dalva, Viacom’s executive VP of Content and Program Enterprises. Now Criss is going global, and Las Vegas and its attractions on and off the Strip will be center stage around the world as the majority of it is shot here and nearby.

Like his previous six-year run of A&E’s “Mindfreak” in 90 countries, globally TV powerhouse Endemol has signed on to distribute the new series in all territories outside the United States. “Once again, Criss proves that he knows the secret to make magic highly successful as a TV series, and the premiere ratings show just how hot his magic continues to be,” said Cathy Payne, CEO of Endemol Worldwide Distribution.

The huge new TV contract is on the heels of his new YouTube rankings: In less than four weeks, his “Rip Bodies Apart” clip on YouTube, taken from the premiere episode, is at 12 million views, and he expects within a year that it will surpass his “Walk on Water” illusion with more than 47 million views.

On Tuesday night, the new episode has Criss dicing with death again in “Alligator Torture Escape,” where he attempts a getaway while chained dangling over 250 hungry alligators in a Florida swamp.

For the December finale, Criss will broadcast live from Las Vegas with a stunt of three dangerous magical illusions woven into one. In January, he’ll undergo surgery for shoulder injuries he’s sustained over the year of production. His Cirque du Soleil show “Believe” will go dark in January while he recuperates and then will resume full time in April. During February and March, he will host a new magic show at the Luxor featuring many of his fellow magicians featured on the TV program.

Penn and Teller 20th Anniversary at The Rio

Penn & Teller's 20th-anniversary performance and celebration at The Rio on Friday, Feb. 8, 2013. The magic duo is pictured here with Launch slideshow »

NUDE PAINTING: The task that Rio headliner magicians Penn & Teller set for the bodypainting experts on the new SyFy reality TV series “Naked Vegas” was unique and controversial, yet tied in well with their sleight-of-hand profession. We’ll all see the results Tuesday on the show when five nude models are transformed into a deck of playing cards.

There are no advance teaser photos. “Naked Vegas” business manager and body wrangler Drew Marvick, who appears in the new show, has four artists working on each subject for as long as 10 hours. SyFy has another bodypainting show titled “Face Off,” and the Game Show Network plans to launch “Skin Wars” next year filmed here.

GIRL’S BEST FRIEND: The largest fancy vivid orange diamond weighing nearly 15 carats will fetch about $20 million Tuesday as the top lot at Christie’s Magnificent Jewels auction in Geneva, Switzerland. Las Vegas jeweler Michael E. Minden has created a manmade copy of the rare gemstone and mounted it in a necklace to go on display at his Fashion Show mall store.

This extraordinary replica of “The Orange” will be on display through Nov. 30 and will then be auctioned off, with proceeds being donated to Keep Memory Alive to support our Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. Watch for the staggering sum to be announced Tuesday.

MIDNIGHT MARRIAGE: The first 11/12/13 wedding will start tonight at the stroke of midnight, and the theme is burgers and nothing but burgers. The wedding of Darlene Hielscher and Bryan Porter of Ormond Beach, Fla., will take place at the new Smashburger at Fort Apache Road. Graceland Chapel’s Elvis minister Brendan Paul will perform the nuptials.

The newlyweds will cut into a six-tier Smashburger cake made from burgers, and they’ve promised to feed each other with burgers and fries to celebrate. The wedding on the busiest marriage day of the year on the penultimate sequential date of the century is exactly two years after their first date. The couple were high school sweethearts but lost touch and then reconnected decades later in a beer and burger joint in their hometown. Our wedding chapels expect to set a new world record for the number of weddings taking place today.

Siegfried & Roy at the Secret Garden

Siegfried & Roy share in cake. Launch slideshow »

RETURN VISIT: Illusionists Siegfried & Roy returned to the Spanish Trail home that Siegfried lived in before he moved into the Bavarian Jungle Palace to help Roy after he was injured in the tiger incident at the Mirage that ended their run of performances. Siegfried wanted to see what new owner racehorse mogul Ben Warren had changed and also to give him a champagne toast for his 80th birthday. Ben returned the favor, making a $5,000 donation to Siegfried and Roy’s new Sarmoti foundation for the preservation of endangered animals..


Country king Garth Brooks filmed from 2 to 4:30 a.m. after his Wynn solo show in a Walmart over the weekend in what is reportedly a commercial for the holidays.

Hometown hero Shane Victorino of the Boston Red Sox celebrates his birthday and the team’s World Series victory with a party, for his charitable foundation devoted to underserved youth, at the Keep Memory Alive Center tonight.

N9NE Steakhouse at the Palms closed for the first time Sunday night since it opened in 2001, as it is undergoing a makeover before reopening in mid-December. Executive chef Barry Dakake promises a stylish new look and new menu items. A new chef’s table covered with a shimmering sheer canopy and chandelier will become the focal point of the main dining room.

Anthony Curtis, publisher of “Eating Las Vegas: 50 Essential Restaurants,” told me at the opening of chef Angelo Sosa’s the Den in Poppy Den at Tivoli Village that dining sites such as Yelp have crimped sales so badly that he’s not going to publish the directory this year. But he hopes to come up with a new plan to make it work for another go-round in 2014.

2013 Brad Garrett Maximum Hope Charity Poker Tournament

Brad Garrett's 2013 Maximum Hope Charity Poker Tournament on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013, in MGM Grand. Launch slideshow »


Brad Garrett headlines at his comedy club in MGM Grand with Mike Pace and Kermet Apio through Sunday.

Mariza performs at Cabaret Jazz in Smith Center.

Producer and DJ Chris Lake is at XS in Steve Wynn’s Encore.

DJ Eric D-Lux is at Marquee in the Cosmopolitan.

Makeup artist to the stars Rain Hannah begins a three-day skills workshop and pro-academy “paparazzi-ready” course at LVH.

The new Cocktails Crew Culture Collaborative hosts a discussion on Las Vegas tattoo culture at the Libraryin Marquee.


On the set at Atomic Liquors with Anthony Bourdain and CNN head honcho Jeff Zucker for the season finale of “Parts Unknown,” plus, the opening of the Downtown Grand, and V Theater hypnotist Marc Savard reveals how he saved his own life by putting himself “under.”

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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