October 11, 2007 12:02 AM by Joe Blackmon
Tim Vincent of Access Hollywood has been selected by NBC to host the
upcoming live reality series Phenomenon, which is a search for the next
great mentalist. Vincent will work with Phenomenon’s previously
announced experts, world-renowned mystifier Criss Angel and famed
mentalist Uri Geller.
In addition to his duties at Access Hollywood, Tim 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 is a native of Wrexham, Wales, and currently resides in New York.
NBC also revealed 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.
The bios for the ten contestants are presented below.
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 Raymon who communicates through a pendulum. His most prized paranormal feat is called The DÃƒja 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 is 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 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.
These contestants will be showcased in the live competition, which will premiere on Wednesday, October 24 from 8PM to 9PM ET, airing its five-week run Wednesdays at 8PM ET, with a special two-hour live episode on Halloween night, October 31 from 8PM to 10PM ET.