Sunday, November 04, 2007

A Chat with Uri Geller, NBC’s latest “Phenomenon” - An Interview in Monsters & Critics

Israeli mentalist Uri Geller, host of The Successor, is in Cannes to promote his paranormal talent show distributed by the German Company Seven One.  EPA/ASM CORBIS OUT

Israeli mentalist Uri Geller, host of The Successor, is in Cannes to promote his paranormal talent show distributed by the German Company Seven One. EPA/ASM CORBIS OU

By April MacIntyre Oct 23, 2007, 18:18 GMT

Nurturing the power of positive intentions has created a lifetime of success and happiness for Uri Geller, the avatar for all of today’s biggest mind-over-matter gurus and spiritualists like Deepak Chopra, Tony Robbins, and even Marianne Williamson.

Known for his writing, peace brokering and his spoon bending events, he is first and foremost a proponent of the power each of us has within our own minds to direct our lives. Powerful thoughts add up, according to Mr. Geller.

Geller

Geller

“Negative thoughts have a biochemical property, you can actually see them on a computer, or machine that measures you brainwaves,” shared Mr. Geller. “The Universe listens to your thoughts, and visualizing them can equal materialization.”

“I am not a healer; I am not a miracle worker,” claims Mr. Geller in an interview with Monsters and Critics.

“My wife and I open our home in England to terminally ill children, and what I call the placebo effect happens during the acts of bending spoons as I draw the audience in, talking to them, it is always a positive reaction.”

NBC President Ben Silverman was “blown away” when he saw the Israeli original show “The Successor”, a runaway hit in Israel that featured the Sabra (Israeli born) mentalist and motivational icon Uri Geller, a national hero in his homeland. “He had goose bumps,” said Mr. Geller.

Angel

Angel

The show “Phenomenon” is a direct spin off and both Uri Geller and Ben Silverman used the power of positive thought to summon superstar Criss Angel to come on board for the special five live show tapings, with a bonus 2 hour special on Halloween. "I thought no way could be get Criss Angel, but Ben really pushed for it."

“I am being kept away from the contestants, and from what I know I am being freaked out by some of them,” said Mr. Geller, who promised “Phenomenon” would be a triumph of entertainment value, and pure mesmerization for the audience.

How Uri Geller and Criss Angel came together was in Geller’s words, pure positive thinking on Silverman’s part. It worked, and Geller had high praise for his partner in the live show experiment that promises to shake things up and bend some minds.

“Criss Angel got to where he is because of the power of his mind; he was driven and uses the power of his positive mind to reach his life’s dreams.”

Geller

Geller

The live show is based on a successful Israeli version judged and monitored by Geller, which achieved a historical record-breaking viewing audience. The show, similar to “American Idol” is being produced next in Germany, then Holland and then perhaps Australia, according to Mr. Geller, when I asked about his follow up to filming more for a season two here in the United States.

“The Universe answered my request,” shared Mr. Geller.

The series showcases 10 carefully selected mentalists who will compete live against one another each week by demonstrating a wide spectrum of mystifying talents on a panel of celebrity guests who experience the illusions along with the studio audience.

“There will be friction with him (Angel) if there are competitors who claim paranomality and then he tries to debunk them on the spot, as he has suggested,” said Mr. Geller.

Geller and Angel will assess the contestant's talents each week and offer their uncensored opinions. Ultimately, the fate of the winner is in the hands of the viewers at home, who will vote to determine which competing mentalist will receive the grand prize of $250,000 and become the next great mentalist.

Mr. Geller freely admitted he has his share of skeptics and detractors.

“Years ago, Johnny Carson invited me on his show, that was when you knew you had made it big, in the United States, to appear on his show.

What I didn’t know was he was an amateur magician, and Johnny set me up, he made a joke of it, and I sat there on his show for 20 minutes, being made a fool of.”
“But I learned from it, that there is no such thing as bad publicity.

The next morning I woke up, slightly depressed, when I got a call from Merv Griffin, who said, ‘Uri, I want you on my show.’ Then Mike Douglas called,” added Mr. Geller, who shared his favorite quote from Oscar Wilde with me: “There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”

“I can sum up my approach to in two words: Be Positive. That means a positive approach to good ideas from every source and every age in history. Forget about fashion, switch off the cynics. Say ‘Yes’ aloud.”

“The skeptics and the cynics failed miserably,” finished Mr. Geller.

LINK-TO-NBC-PHENOMENON-GAME

###

"Phenomenon" - Wednesdays (8-9 p.m. ET) on NBC - Premiere date: October 24, 2007

Two-hour Special on Halloween night, October 31 (8-10 p.m. ET)

The series is, based on a successful Israeli version judged and monitored by Geller, which achieved a historical record-breaking viewing audience, is a Granada America/Keshet Broadcasting/Kuperman Productions co-production in association with SevenOne International. SevenOne International controls the worldwide rights to the program.

Experts: Uri Geller & Criss Angel
Host: Tim Vincent
Executive producers: Suzy Lamb, Michael Agbabian and Dwight Smith
Creator: Format devised by Keshet Broadcasting Limited, Kuperman Productions Limited, Explorologist Limited
Director: Alan Carter
Supervising producer: Melanie Balac
Executive in charge of production: Mark Johnson
Line Producer: Tim Gaydos
Set designer: Anton Goss
Lighting designer: John Morgan
Wardrobe designer: Carrie Cramer
Graphics: SG Arts
Origination: Los Angeles

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