Blaine Brings Ratings Win to ABC

Our Secret
Our Secret

Ratings magic from non-magic, says New York’s Newsday, have given Mr. Blaine a reason to survive for another sweeps period.

Some have claimed David Blaine’s stunning ability to remain underwater for six plus minutes was either fake or not magic.  (If he was only appearing to hold his breath that long, he was technically doing magic).

“Alive” is still “alive” and for that amazingly simple yet complicated act – at least in this absurdly fascinating context – David Blaine may be the de facto champ of the 2006 May sweeps.

No, he didn’t achieve his cherished (and much hyped) nine-minutes-without-a-breath record, but he got something better – my educated guess is about 18 million viewers – and ABC was happy and – my other educated guess – so were most of those viewers.

The columnist is right on the button with his analysis of the reason for Blaine’s success.

The whole strange spectacle still worked because no one ever bothered to ask why. By last Monday, the media had dubbed him Bubble Boy, while the particularly savvy setting in Lincoln Center (just up the block from ABC) elevated the stunt to “performance art.”

And just like that, the question “why?” seemed kind of irrelevant.

But the best stuff was the pre-packaged pieces, the filler that revealed Blaine’s magic with people. He goes off to a Louisiana prison, billed
as some sort of super-lockdown, to learn what confinement is all about, but seems to spend most of his time playing card tricks or bending metal bars.

Bizarre, yes, and you couldn’t take your eyes off it.

Newsday‘s columnist rejects the popular folklore that Mr. Blaine is a lonely man searching for chances to be loved, to be needed.

A profile by Newsday’s David Behrens cited Blaine’s dedication to Houdini’s observation that “a performance is … a tissue of falsehoods [and] the performer must sufficiently enter into the part he plays.”

Excellent review, we think.  Excellent.  Check it out here.

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