NBC reveals the identities of 'Phenomenon' contestants and host
By Christopher Rocchio, 10/11/2007
NBC has revealed the identities of the 10 contestants competing on Phenomenon, a new reality series that will follow mentalist Uri Geller and Criss Angel Mindfreak illusionist Criss Angel as they search for "the next great mentalist."
Phenomenon is based on a popular Israeli reality competition series called The Successor, which premiered earlier this year and featured Geller as a judge and mentor. He'll be joined by Angel for the previously announced NBC adaptation, which will follow a similar format to The Successor with the 10 contestants competing each week and having their acts tested through a series of challenges in-front of a panel of celebrity guest judges as well as a studio audience.
While Geller and Angel assist the Phenomenon contestants as well as provide their insight, home viewers will be the ones who vote to determine which act eventually claims the show's $250,000 grand prize following its five-week broadcast run.
Phenomenon is scheduled to premiere Wednesday, October 24 at 8PM ET/PT. In addition to a two-hour Halloween broadcast on Wednesday, October 31, NBC will broadcast each of Phenomenon's one-hour episodes live and also implore home viewers to try and debunk the contestants' tricks.
NBC also announced Access Hollywood correspondent Tim Vincent will serve as Phenomenon's host.
The 10 contestants competing on Phenomenon -- as well as their NBC-supplied bios -- are:
Jan Bardi, who is originally from Leuven, Belgium and currently resides in Keerbergen, Belgium
Jan 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, who is originally from Tel Aviv, Israel and currently resides in Sunrise, FL
The youngest of three boys, overweight and in the middle of his parent's divorce, Guy 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, who is originally from Pittsburgh, PA and currently resides in Beaufort, SC
At age seven, Jim 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 Deja 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, who hails from Avon Lake, OH
Angela 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, who is originally from Reading, PA and currently resides in West Lawn, 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, who is originally from Allentown, PA and currently resides in Clinton, NY
Jim 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, who is originally from Long Island, NY and currently resides in Henderson, NV
At age 8, Gerry 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, who hails from Tampa, FL
At an early age Eran 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, who is originally from Reading, CA and currently resides in Las Vegas, NV
Jason 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, who is originally from Safed, Israel and currently resides in New York, NY
Raised in Israel, Ehud was the runner-up of the 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.