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TV Notes: 1/7/03

Tuesday, January 07, 2003

Predicting the comeback

Last week, illusionist Michael Grandinetti forecast that he would predict the Post-Gazette's headlines word for word on the WBZZ-FM (93.7) morning show yesterday. The stunt was successful. As it turns out, it was a good news day, with the top story about the Steelers' victory over Cleveland on Sunday.

Grandinetti had his sealed prediction delivered to the station last month by Express Mail. The JohnDaveBubbaShelley morning team held onto the envelope, unsealed the piece of paper that allegedly reveled the headline prediction and seemed as surprised as anybody by the outcome. The paper inside was word-for word -- the simple two-word "The Comeback," plus a lengthy subhead that described the fourth-quarter victory and listed the final score. That it turned out to be a big local story that had people feeling good was an added bonus, Grandinetti said.

He, of course, wouldn't reveal how the trick was pulled off. But he did say it was an illusion and not a claim of psychic powers.

"It was a focused concentrated effort. It wasn't your standard card trick kind of thing." But it was designed to seem real to the audience -- even an audience that couldn't see what was going on. "That's one of the powerful things about magic -- that suspension of disbelief."

Grandinetti, a West Mifflin native, is headed back to Los Angeles. Upcoming projects include a TV special in Italy. He's also working as a consultant on a book about magician Doug Henning, which is scheduled for publication this year.

(By Adrian McCoy, Post-Gazette Staff Writer)

'Shield's' debt

FX's "The Shield" returns tonight at 10 to begin its second season, and star Michael Chiklis admits that the cop drama owes a debt to HBO's "The Sopranos." Like Tony Soprano, Chiklis' Vic Mackey is a morally ambiguous anti-hero.

"I couldn't have played Vic Mackey without the advent of Tony Soprano," Chiklis said at a party during the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif., last July. "He set the stage for the hero and anti-hero simultaneously. I have to credit him for that, but we've established our own brand and our own mark. Vic Mackey is not Tony Soprano. He's got a badge."

(Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor)

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