Must Disappear TV: Criss Angel Developing ‘Workplace’ Magic Comedy for NBC

Last week, Vanity Fair‘s Matt Pressman interviewed Lee Eisenberg, a writer for NBC’s The Office for the magazine’s Culture and Celebrity blog.

Here’s a snippet:

How did you [and writing partner Gene Stupinsky] end up writing for The Office?

Lee Eisenberg: Gene and I sold a pilot called Lonnie and Gordo, and [The Office executive producer] Greg Daniels got his hands on that.

What was that show about?

It was about two co-dependent magicians who live and work together. We were really happy with how the script turned out, but it didn’t move forward. But Greg read it and liked it enough to meet with us.

Mr. Eisenberg went on to explain, "I think the characters were incredibly heightened versions of us. We were living together at the time and, obviously, struggling with a creative endeavor. We started talking about a show about two guys who were living together. As it started forming, we decided that writing is much less visual than magic, so we decided to go with magic."

It’s not the worst idea in the world—who didn’t love Arrested Development‘s Tony Wonder arc?—but maybe what Messrs. Eisenberg and Stupinsky needed was a big-time Magic Celebrity, or at the very least, Criss "Mindreak" Angel, to push the project through.

Yesterday, Variety‘s MIchael Schneider reported that Mr. Angel and actor-turned-writer Chris Moynihan have somehow convinced NBC to give them a sitcom.

Per Mr. Schneider:

The Angel project is based on an original idea that the ‘Mindfreak’ magician conceived along with producers Dave Baram, Jason Verona and Adam Shulman. Moynihan has joined in to write the project, which was inspired by Angel’s experience as an up-and-coming magician.

All four are aboard to exec produce the half-hour, which was pitched as a workplace comedy set in the world of magic.

Let’s hope the show does better than Believe, Mr. Angel’s Las Vegas show that opened on Halloween, which was described as "a train wreck" by a preview attendee quoted by The Las Vegas Review-Journal‘s Doug Elfman in September.

Earlier this month, The Los Angeles Times‘ Reed Johnson had a (slightly) different take on Believe:

If Criss Angel were blindfolded, straitjacketed, run over by a steamroller, locked in a steel box and dumped from a helicopter into the Pacific Ocean, he still might be easier to salvage from disaster than ‘Criss Angel: Believe,’ the gloomy, gothic muddle of a show that officially lurched into being on Halloween night like some patched-together Frankenstein’s monster.
Must Disappear TV: Criss Angel Developing ‘Workplace’ Magic Comedy for NBC