NBC has named Tim Vincent (“Access Hollywood”) host of the upcoming live reality series, “Phenomenon” — the search for the next great mentalist. Vincent will work along side the series’ previously announced experts, world-renowned mystifier Criss Angel (“Criss Angel Mindfreak”) and famed mentalist Uri Geller.
Additionally, the network revealed today the identities of the 10 carefully selected contestants chosen to compete. They are: Jan Bardi, Guy Bavli, Jim Callahan, Angela Funovits, Wayne Hoffman, Jim Karol, Gerry McCambridge, Eran Raven, Jason Scott and Ehud Segev. These contestants will be showcased in the riveting live competition, which will premiere on Wednesday, October 24 (8-9 p.m. ET) airing its five-week run Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET, with a special two-hour live episode on Halloween night, October 31 (8-10 p.m. ET).
Vincent currently serves as the New York correspondent for “Access Hollywood,” the daily entertainment newsmagazine currently in its 12th season of providing the most comprehensive coverage of entertainment news and personalities on television. Vincent joined the show in January of 2005, coming to the show after 15 years of broadcasting in the UK. In addition to his duties at “Access Hollywood,” Vincent also hosts two primetime shows on the BBC in the UK, “Kitchen Criminals” and “Saturday Night National Lottery.” He has also contributed to NBC’s top-rated morning news program “Today,” and has provided commentary on CNN’s “Larry King Live.” Vincent has traveled the globe covering numerous events including Italy’s Venice Film Festival and France’s Cannes Film Festival. His extensive career also includes co-hosting the Miss World pageant in 2005 and 2006, as well as the Miss USA 2007 pageant. Vincent is a native of Wrexham, Wales, and currently resides in New York.
The contestants preparing to mystify viewers include:
Jan Bardi – Residence: Keerbergen, Belgium, Hometown: Leuven, Belgium
Jan Bardi studied bioengineering at university and earned his master’s degree, but found that he was always happiest onstage. Through study and performance, Jan polished his act and made a career out of his “Psycho Stunts”, which use psychology and mentalism to amaze audiences. Jan has starred in several successful television series and specials in his native Belgium, earning him celebrity status. He has traveled all over the world and even performed inside the “Great Pyramid” on Egypt’s famous Giza plateau.
Guy Bavli – Residence: Sunrise, FL, Hometown: Tel Aviv, Israel
The youngest of three boys, overweight and in the middle of his parent’s divorce, Guy Bavli found solace in illusions. He watched Uri Geller on Israeli television and was inspired. Guy performed his first gig at a Tel-Aviv country club at age eight. He learned his craft mainly through books. He spent three years in the Israeli military where he became a mind reading entertainer-soldier and a member of the Air Force performing group. Guy has spent three years contracted at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas and appears at other noteworthy locations around the world. He moved to the United States in 2002. Guy is engaged to be married and has a seven-year-old daughter, who is developing mentalism skills of her own, having recently bent her first spoon.
Jim Callahan – Residence: Beaufort, SC, Hometown: Pittsburg, PA
At age seven, Jim Callahan watched a movie about Houdini and his obsession with magic began. Years later, he started his career by combining Houdini’s art of escape with his interest in the paranormal. Jim claims to be followed by the spirit of a deceased man named Raymond and who communicates through a pendulum. His most prized paranormal feat is called The Dja vu Experiment where he asked one person to think of a city, another person to think of a number and another to think of an object. He then shows a DVD recorded four days earlier where he had predicted exactly what the people said. Jim is married to his 8th grade sweetheart and has a teenage daughter.
Angela Funovits – Residence: Avon Lake, OH, Hometown: Avon Lake, OH
Angela Funovits became fascinated by illusions at age 10. Her interest grew when she learned her great-grandfather was rumored to have been a celebrated magician in China. At age 11 she began modeling and at age 16 won the “Miss Teen Cleveland” pageant. During her senior year of high school, a family member was diagnosed with heart-disease, which inspired her to create “The Magic of Medicine”- a workshop that helps cancer patients and families cope with their diseases. Currently, she is a medical student and has been offered the opportunity to perform in “The Pussycats of Magic” in Las Vegas.
Wayne Hoffman – Residence: West Lawn, PA, Hometown: Reading, PA
Wayne first learned of his talents at age seven, spending many years at the local magic shop honing his craft. At age 15, Wayne performed his first professional gig and never looked back. He now plays college campuses around the country and recently even performed for Hollywood’s elite at the Playboy Mansion.
Jim Karol – Residence: Clinton, NY, Hometown: Allentown, PA
Jim Karol is a former steel worker who now a mystifier. Twenty years ago, Jim dreamt the winning numbers of the Pennsylvania state lottery. He gave out the numbers at all of his shows and they proved to be correct. By giving the numbers out at his local shows, he had created hundreds of winners and he became famous overnight. Today he is a regular college campus performer and has appeared on national television programs, including NBC’s “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and “Ellen.” Jim worked as a consultant on the Jackass films, and was featured in “Jackass 2.”
Gerry McCambridge – Residence: Henderson, NV, Hometown: Long Island, NY
At age 8, Gerry McCambridge received a magic set for Christmas. Soon after he became awe-struck by illusionist Doug Henning’s Broadway and TV performances. After his parents divorced, Gerry would perform magic on the streets of New York City to earn extra money for his single mother. By the time he graduated high school, Gerry was an established nightclub and comedy club performer. Eventually he was averaging over 160 performances per year. After years of being on the road, he decided to make a move to Las Vegas. He currently headlines nightly at Hooters Casino Hotel so he can remain close to his wife and six children.
Eran Raven – Residence: Tampa, FL, Hometown: Tampa, FL
At an early age Eran Raven began having vivid dreams about the future, but he thought this was common. It was not until he years later that he realized he had a special gift and began performing. Two years ago Eran was diagnosed with Bells Palsy, which caused him to lose the ability to move the right side of his face and made the left side of his face twitch. His condition, now under control, has taught him to look at life differently, live life to the fullest and further embrace his gift.
Jason Scott – Residence: Las Vegas, NV, Hometown: Reading, CA
Jason Scott has distinct memories of mystifying people as far back as kindergarten, when he moved crayons for his class. He has only held two jobs, teaching Jiu Jutsu and mystifying people as a mentalist. Today he does daily shows at the Playboy Club in Las Vegas, private events for celebrities and has performed at venues ranging from Children’s hospitals to the Playboy Mansion.
Ehud Segev – Residence: New York, NY, Hometown: Safed, Isreal
Raised in Israel, Ehud Segev was the runner-up of the Israeli version of “Phenomenon,” titled “The Successor.” He moved to America to pursue his dream of performing. He has performed all over the world, as well as off-Broadway in his own show “Anomal.” Ehud claims that his routines are unique because they have to do with spirituality and connections.
“Phenomenon,” which features world-renowned mystifier Criss Angel (“Criss Angel Mindfreak”) and famed mentalist Uri Geller, as the show’s resident experts, showcases an intensive search for the next great mentalist. The series is an exhilarating and mystifying live show based on a successful Israeli version judged and monitored by Geller, which achieved a historical record-breaking viewing audience. “Phenomenon” features the 10 carefully selected mentalists competing live against one another each week by demonstrating a wide spectrum of mystifying talents on a panel of celebrity guests who experience the spellbinding illusions along with the studio audience.
Together, Geller and Angel will assess the contestant’s talents each week and offer their unfiltered 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.
“Phenomenon” is executive produced by Suzy Lamb (“Grease: You’re The One That I Comic Standing”) and Dwight Smith (“Last Comic Standing”). The series is a Granada America/Keshet Broadcasting/Kuperman Productions co-production in association with SevenOne International. SevenOne International controls the worldwide rights to the program.