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Topic: Why aren't there any big Tv specials anymore?
Message: Posted by: Matthijsvr (Jan 8, 2015 06:25AM)
Guys,
just a general discussion realy,
why do you think there arent any big illusion tv-shows anymore,
like the ones with david Copperfield and such?

is it the lack of good illusionists?
or killed "Magic's biggest secrets finally revealed"the genre?

like to hear your opinion.
Message: Posted by: Ollie (Jan 24, 2015 01:33AM)
There's a been a couple in Australia.
Message: Posted by: Matthijsvr (Jan 26, 2015 04:54AM)
I'm from the netherlands, (and the magic society is quite big here) there has been a lack for several years, we're finally picking up on the street magic hype, but there hasn't been a Illusion show yet. was just wondering why. any thoughts?
Message: Posted by: george1953 (Jan 26, 2015 11:23AM)
In the UK you can tune in on a Saturday night prime time if you want to see the WORST magic on TV, its a joke.
Message: Posted by: Matthijsvr (Jan 27, 2015 04:17AM)
[quote]On Jan 26, 2015, george1953 wrote:
In the UK you can tune in on a Saturday night prime time if you want to see the WORST magic on TV, its a joke. [/quote]

which program are you referring to :)
Message: Posted by: OzJosh (Jan 27, 2015 06:09AM)
It's true.
our time is coming again.
Message: Posted by: Magic Man 997 (Jan 28, 2015 08:12PM)
I think it's a combination of things. I believe it's harder to get a tv special now than it was in the 80s (especially if you're unknown) and with the change in times magicians are trying other ways to get big.

Now days tv networks don't want to risk putting someone people haven't heard of on in prime time because they don't know if you'll get the views they want. You also need a way in to TV an agent or getting an idea picked up by a production company. Even if you're able to get an agent to represent you or a production company that will help produce your special, it's not a guarantee that a TV network will pick it up. There are a handful of half-hour specials and series out there on cable tv and 1 hour long series (that I can recall off the top of my head). Some got picked up because they were proven elsewhere (30 min. Masters of Illusions and the US rebroadcast of Fool US: both proven on TV before) and others probably picked up by production companies.

Magicians also try to get their name out and make it big in other ways. Why get my own show as an unknown when I can go in front of millions on America's Got Talent and maybe get a special from that. Or I can post a video on youtube and go viral or get discovered.

There are probably even more factors to why there haven't been as many big specials recently. Those are just a few things to consider.

~Tyler L.
Message: Posted by: DeceptionStunts (Feb 10, 2015 02:43PM)
I have one that is one stage away from being green lighted or dropped from consideration by a major network. The honest answer is because it's extremely difficult to catch the ear of a network executive and when you do, you better bring your A game. It becomes even more difficult if you're not the type of person that they believe will hit their demographic.
Message: Posted by: OzJosh (Feb 12, 2015 12:48AM)
We had our golden age, it's now the technological age of Magic.

our time is now, we just need to surf that cyber wave.
Message: Posted by: Doug Trouten (Jul 24, 2015 10:19PM)
Magician Mat Franco, who won "America's Got Talent" last year, will have a two-hour special this fall:

http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2015/07/22/2-hour-special-mat-francos-got-magic-set-for-thursday-september-17-on-nbc/434890/
Message: Posted by: David Todd (Aug 22, 2015 11:04AM)
That's interesting about Mat Franco. Hope that goes well for him. 2 hours is long time to sustain interest. (although it looks like he'll have a lot of support from "guest stars" like Penn & Teller )

-----

Back to the original post from Matthijsvr , it is kind of shocking to me to remember that Copperfield's last TV Special was in 2001 ... 14 years ago !! Of course he has been busy with live performances , so it's not as if appearing on TV is the be all and end all for a performer . (I'd argue that magic is really best experienced as a LIVE theatrical performance , not on Television). But I would have thought there would be more interest in another Copperfield television special. He may have his reasons for stepping away from doing television specials. Public taste changing with the advent of magicians like David Blaine and so-called "reality" TV style may be the main reason. Eventually everything old is new again, so DC or some other big illusionist may put together a TV spectacular again. Although part of it is also probably the fact that because of drastically reduced advertising rates broadcast television budgets have shrunk to the point where it would be hard to get an adequate budget to produce a grand old style magic special that would be profitable. "Reality TV" caught on because it's relatively inexpensive to produce.


.
Message: Posted by: conjurus_maximus (Aug 27, 2015 10:13AM)
Surprisingly tv specials aren't lucrative. David Copperfield at magic live explained other reason's that I forget.
Message: Posted by: KristoBall (Sep 21, 2015 06:32PM)
So, uh, did anybody watch Mat Franco's special? I don't want to bash anyone - especially someone who won AGT - but maybe that's why there aren't many magic TV specials anymore. The whole celebrity worship/ego thing, camera tricks, stooges/actors, etc... just wasn't for me. Except for Gronk. Go Pats.
Message: Posted by: TommyJ (Sep 23, 2015 04:44PM)
[quote]On Sep 21, 2015, KristoBall wrote:
So, uh, did anybody watch Mat Franco's special? I don't want to bash anyone - especially someone who won AGT - but maybe that's why there aren't many magic TV specials anymore. The whole celebrity worship/ego thing, camera tricks, stooges/actors, etc... just wasn't for me. Except for Gronk. Go Pats. [/quote]

I thought exactly the same thing, in fact, I couldn't watch more than half of it.

I'm happy for Matt but, totally uninterested in where magic on television has gone the last decade. Stooges. Camera help. It's ugly.

What happened to the days of Doug Henning and Copperfield where they do the special and in the beginning of the program they announce there will be no camera tricks. No trick photography. What you will be seeing is exactly what you would see if you were sitting in the audience.

I absolutely hate when people come up to me and say "Did you SEE that special last night!!! OMG he did this, or this!!!!!" Magic on TV is definitely not for the magician, it's for the lay audience. And I'm sorry, but I can't hold back when someone asks me about it. I will tell them about stooges and camera tricks. I hate this type of magic and always will. Its ugly. Sorry Matt. I'm an ex Rhodeislander too, and I'm just giving my honest opinion.

Go PATS!!!!!
Message: Posted by: luckyram (Sep 23, 2015 11:41PM)
[quote]On Sep 23, 2015, TommyJ wrote:
[quote]On Sep 21, 2015, KristoBall wrote:
So, uh, did anybody watch Mat Franco's special? I don't want to bash anyone - especially someone who won AGT - but maybe that's why there aren't many magic TV specials anymore. The whole celebrity worship/ego thing, camera tricks, stooges/actors, etc... just wasn't for me. Except for Gronk. Go Pats. [/quote]

I thought exactly the same thing, in fact, I couldn't watch more than half of it.

I'm happy for Matt but, totally uninterested in where magic on television has gone the last decade. Stooges. Camera help. It's ugly.

What happened to the days of Doug Henning and Copperfield where they do the special and in the beginning of the program they announce there will be no camera tricks. No trick photography. What you will be seeing is exactly what you would see if you were sitting in the audience.

I absolutely hate when people come up to me and say "Did you SEE that special last night!!! OMG he did this, or this!!!!!" Magic on TV is definitely not for the magician, it's for the lay audience. And I'm sorry, but I can't hold back when someone asks me about it. I will tell them about stooges and camera tricks. I hate this type of magic and always will. Its ugly. Sorry Matt. I'm an ex Rhodeislander too, and I'm just giving my honest opinion.

Go PATS!!!!! [/quote]


I'm with you (except for the cheating Pat's...LOL).

I also turned it off...it was ridiculous.

When he switched places with Neil P Harris and then appeared on the bus I was like "OK...camera cuts/tricks/stooges....I'm out". Also, the Heidi Klum thing with the "tattooed" card on her chest....yeah.....ok.

Someone later mentioned the Gronkowski football thing to me so I looked up the vid.....again there were quick cuts leading to the reveal so it was hard to tell what was actually going on. I suppose if done legit that he could have secreted/palmed the phone and inserted it in a prepared slit in the football (with a ringer/sounder in the ball prior to reveal) but it looked staged and too good to be true.

While I think any magic on TV is good and help to "keep the flame lit" this stuff is horrible and can lead to extremely unfair & over-inflated expectations from laymen....i.e.; they expect infinitely more than is really possible - to see grander and more ridiculous performances from working magicians because they "saw a guy do it on TV".
Message: Posted by: TommyJ (Sep 24, 2015 07:52AM)
While I think any magic on TV is good and help to "keep the flame lit" this stuff is horrible and can lead to extremely unfair & over-inflated expectations from laymen....i.e.; they expect infinitely more than is really possible - to see grander and more ridiculous performances from working magicians because they "saw a guy do it on TV". [/quote]

Very well said.
Message: Posted by: Doug Trouten (Sep 26, 2015 11:02PM)
Sadly, I have to agree with the prevailing sentiment on Mat Franco's special. The stooging the point where I expected to see "Larry, Curly and Moe" in the credits. And did you know that all of the cards in a deck are different? I know this because Mat pointed it out pretty much every time he pulled out a deck.
Message: Posted by: ThomasJ (Dec 10, 2015 10:28AM)
[quote]On Sep 24, 2015, luckyram wrote:
While I think any magic on TV is good and help to "keep the flame lit" this stuff is horrible and can lead to extremely unfair & over-inflated expectations from laymen....i.e.; they expect infinitely more than is really possible - to see grander and more ridiculous performances from working magicians because they "saw a guy do it on TV". [/quote]

Nailed it. I missed the special the first time it was on but saw it a couple nights ago. I was waiting for a card trick with pure sleight of hand and 0 camera cuts. Unless I missed something, the closest to it was MacDonald's Aces which was little more than an Elmsley and some laydown subtleties - with the help of those DF cards.
Message: Posted by: pcrpttc (Dec 11, 2015 02:15PM)
[quote]On Sep 24, 2015, TommyJ wrote:
While I think any magic on TV is good and help to "keep the flame lit" this stuff is horrible and can lead to extremely unfair & over-inflated expectations from laymen....i.e.; they expect infinitely more than is really possible - to see grander and more ridiculous performances from working magicians because they "saw a guy do it on TV". [/quote]

Very well said. [/quote]
Agreed! Sometimes, they even said "Can you show me the trick that was on the TV show too?"
Message: Posted by: The Mysterious One (Dec 17, 2015 12:02AM)
I always gauge how good a special is from a layperson's perspective. My sister is the ultimate observer/layperson that will watch everything magician related TV special in the US and the UK. She thought it was OK. Of course, she is big on comparing any TV performer to David Blaine's specials, especially his Real or Magic special. I also thought that Blaine's show was really well done. It was his best special in a long, long time.

About Mat Franco, I make it a point not to come on this forum and bash anyone, but I will say this. The Mat Franco special did not elicit much excitement from me. It was hard for me to watch and I never finished it due to the aformentioned reasons mentioned in earlier posts within this thread. I think that Mat Franco is very talented from what I have seen on AGT. He is a likeable performer and I hope he does well in Vegas (if it is still going on).

Talking about magic specials, I thought Steve Cohen's special from a few years on History was wonderful. I love magic history and it was incredible to see John Gaughn's chess playing Turk in action. I can see why the original Turk made a huge splash back in the Napoleonic era. Even with all of the technology in today's world, it is startling to see an automaton in action.
Message: Posted by: nupanick2 (Feb 16, 2016 06:42PM)
Okay, so, I'm a layperson who just signed up for this forum a few days ago to ask for help finding old footage. I'm a fan, not a performer, so take me with an appropriately-sized pile of salt.

I got *more* excited about magic after the "Biggest Secrets Revealed" run. I realized that magic is so much more entertaining when it's *not* being performed with the mentality that it's a game being played against the audience. American street magicians do this so very wrong... there's this sense that their job is to fool you, and your job is not to make it easy.

I've seen enough "secrets" to not [i]care[/i] about them any more. I don't really care what methods you use, I'm just here to escape into the fantasy of impossible things happening before my eyes, and I'm able and willing to lose myself in that fantasy, especially if you introduce yourself like a storyteller and not an annoying twerp.

I know this is a controvercial subject, but given that I'm not going to try and "solve" a good trick anyway, I think camera tricks are absolutely acceptable, as long as you don't pull the Cr*** An*** thing where you stage them as if they were live street magic.

I feel like "gadget-free" magic has its place, just like acoustic guitar music and tabletop role-playing games, but I also don't think music or gaming could have advanced as far as they have today without embracing electronic remixing or the internet, respectively. I'm not going to expect unreasonable super powers from live entertainers just because I've seen a TV show with editing tricks, any more than I would expect it from a rock band!

So I guess my point is: I feel like this community limits itself too harshly by shaming all use of video editing. Yes, I'm impressed by what you can all do with one metaphorical hand behind your backs, but I'd also love to see what you could do if you used both hands. I'd like camera tricks in magic get to where CGI is in movies right now. It's not the main appeal of the show, and if it's done right I won't think about it at all, but it gives the director one more tool to tell their story and keeps me from staring quizzically at model spaceships and wondering if I could spot the strings.
Message: Posted by: Greg Arce (Feb 16, 2016 08:03PM)
Let me ask you Nupanick2, would you be fine with a televised juggler who is just moving his hands up and down while the CGI adds ten juggling balls, three running chainsaws and some flaming torches? Basically, he would be doing something that no juggler could really do in life. Or what if, like Milli Vanilli, another singing sensation comes to the forefront and we now know they can't really sing, but all their songs are just dubbed in and you've now bought a ticket to their concert and their song loop breaks. Or, let's take a real world example, would you be okay buying a product on any informercial that does some marvelous cleaning, or sawing, or slicing, or whatever, and you order it and later on you find out that it only works that way when they edit out the problems and they edited so the time went faster because in life it really takes over an hour to get the job done.

So would you be okay with all those examples? Just wondering.

Greg
Message: Posted by: nupanick2 (Feb 16, 2016 09:40PM)
Not really? I don't know where you got that impression from [i]any[/i] of my arguments, and it reeks of strawman. I said that I don't think just tricking people was ever the point, that I didn't like the use of editing as a cop-out, and that I wouldn't expect any live rock concert to be able to do everything they can in their music videos. Editing is a [i]tool[/i] which should be used with care, but it's also a tool which allowed many other mediums to evolve. It's not all good; I agree with you there. But it's not all bad either.
Message: Posted by: Greg Arce (Feb 16, 2016 10:08PM)
Well, I guess we can agree to disagree. I don't like the use of editing, camera tricks, or anything that fool's the home audience into thinking that what they saw could be done live.

Greg
Message: Posted by: Adam1975 (Aug 29, 2016 11:48AM)
Maybe its the the fact we can now rewind/pause live TV,and that along with social media, & the internet means things are dissected and analyzed to death...maybe that's one of the reasons ?
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Aug 29, 2016 03:27PM)
Personally I just think no one has come along to offer anything new and interesting. The 80s and 90s had a good bit of stage illusion specials and honestly, it was all pretty much the same thing. So interest died out - humans get bored fast.

Then David Blaine came along and revitalized the idea by pointing the camera at the audience so people could share the reaction that way. Then a thousand people tried to do the same thing and it got played out.

Criss Angel had a good splash, and was really popular mixing his stage magic and street magic with the endurance stunts. But then he spoiled things by getting the reputation of using camera tricks and stooges, and being a jerk to people.

Derren Brown did well with his shows in Europe from what I understand. He made a bit of a splash over here, but his humor and skepticism I think didn't go over terribly well with the general viewership. Then he shifted to his stage shows and is just collecting awards, it seems.

P&T Fool Us is a contest and for some reason we seem to eat that up. I don't consider it a "Big Special" though.

What needs to happen is someone needs to put a new, creative concept out, AND also to get the viewers. I've thought up some cool concepts (as I am sure have many of the others on here, given the pool of talent and creativity we have here), but I have no means of getting any of these concepts in front of anyone who could do anything with it right now, so I'm stuck until I can do something about it.

Then you look at things like YouTube - where everyone seems to think they can become the next huge thing over night. This is bolstered by the people who have pretty much done that. Hannah Hart with My Drunk Kitchen, Freddie Wong with RocketJump studios, Lindsey Stirling with her music, Bo Burnham with his comedy - the list is pretty long when you really get down to it. But they try to do this with no concept of why those other people succeeded, and they usually end up recreating stuff that's already out there.

So, TL;DR version, there's not much in the way of specials because there's not much that's special to put on TV at the moment.
Message: Posted by: danaruns (Aug 29, 2016 04:52PM)
I suspect that the advent of digital effects have made big illusion shows obsolete. The biggest, most exciting illusion is absolutely nothing that someone with a camera, a computer and a little knowledge can't beat. Look up Action Movie Kid on YouTube as an example. No traditional magic illusion special can compete with it on TV. Live is different.

Still, we do have "Masters of Illusion" on TV, so it is still being done, occasionally, for now.

And, you know, there are only so many ways you can saw a woman in half, make her disappear and reappear in the audience, put her in a box and skewer her with swords, or levitate her into the air. Most everyone alive grew up with seeing those effects on TV, and they are as passe as Leave It To Beaver.
Message: Posted by: Yehoshua (Dec 25, 2016 11:40PM)
So, on the note of "editing". Everyone likes to wail on Criss Angel and Co. for editing and such...but has anyone seen Copperfield's "Flying Over the Grand Canyon" OE when he vanishes the Orient Express?. Using camera tricks is nothing new, nor is lying on TV about not using them. We lie for a living...

I'm not one to encourage the use of camera edits but...we are storytellers, first and foremost. The laymen don't care HOW we cheat. Lying about "magically summoning a card to the top of the deck" is no less bs than is cutting away to hide the move.

and seeing as magicians are magicians to laymen, we certainly should not bad mouth our peers to our clientele ...its just poor form.



in any case...making the impossible possible is our job. if camera tricks make it look better than your sleights....then make better sleights!

I enjoy the challenge. we should be dreaming bigger not trying to stay more of the same.
Message: Posted by: debjit (Aug 14, 2018 02:23PM)
I feel Penn and Teller Fool Us is doing great things for magic currently. It's showing real magic and laypeople are understanding the limitations of a magician. A magician can't just vanish or start levitating at any place like Criss Angel and others keep doing. And now I think people are starting to realize that and appreciate the patter and performance of real magicians.