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The CW's Penn & Teller: Fool Us is mostly network trickery


Penn & Teller keep a close watch on card trickster Daniel Madison. CW photo

Premiering: Wednesday, July 30th at 7 p.m. (central) on The CW
Starring: Penn Jillette, Raymond Joseph Teller and Jonathan Ross (who hosts)
Produced by: Peter Adam Golden, Andrew Golder, David Green, Peter Davey

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In honor of their best-known TV show, it’s tempting to call “Bullshit!” on this latest offering from the venerable illusionist duo of Penn Jillette and Raymond Teller.

Their Penn & Teller: Fool Us amounts to sleight of hand from The CW network, which is launching the one-hour show on Wednesday, July 30th. The network says that any magicians whose tricks can’t be figured out by Penn & Teller will win “the right to perform” with them during their show at Rio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, which has housed them since 2001.

Well, let’s just say that one of the four contestants on the one-hour premiere successfully confounds Penn & Teller. But he won’t be appearing anytime soon at the Rio. That’s because this made-in-Britain show was canceled way back in June 2012 after eight episodes. And this particular Rio-worthy trick was performed a year before that. So if the winner ever got to Vegas, it’s been quite a while back.

The host is bearded, long-haired, big-boned Jonathan Ross, who does a pretty nice job of it despite a dated(?) introduction of Penn & Teller as “the biggest thing to come out of Vegas since Charlie Sheen’s mini-bar bill.”

Penn sets up the premise by telling the audience that “if we can figure out how the trick is done, we’re gonna say. Well, I’m gonna say.” His usually silent partner can be heard saying a few words near show’s end, though.

Penn doesn’t really give much away, though, after the duo supposedly deduce how two of the tricks are done. For one bloke, though, the gig is pretty much up.

Despite being a quickly canceled hand-me-down, Fool Us remains fairly watchable throughout Wednesday’s premiere episode. Then again, I’m a sap for magic and would be happy to perform my amazing disappearing act if this show somehow gets a second life and begins shooting actual new episodes for The CW.

Don’t hold your breath on that front, though. And don’t expect to see any of the winners at the Rio. That was then. This is now.


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