NATPE Hot Pick: The Illusionist

The Illusionist is “the first talent competition devoted entirely to magic” according to Banijay International, the company distributing the format. “It’s a competition for amateur magicians who want to break into the big time,” explains company managing director Karoline Spodsberg, who adds that it has been specifically chosen with NATPE’s audience in mind. “We plan our product launches carefully and, for NATPE, we definitely focus on what will work in North and Latin America.”

According to Spodsberg, the thing that makes The Illusionist right for the region is that it is “a big studio entertainment show. We’ve had a lot of success with entertainment formats in this part of the world, for example we have sold Stars in Danger: High Diving to the US and Canada in the last few months, so it makes sense to launch this bold, unique format at NATPE.”

The Illusionist has just launched in Italy on Canale 5. In the show, contestants have to prove themselves over several nerve-wracking rounds in front of a panel of judges. As the series progress, backstage interviews help the audience get to know the contestants until finally one is chosen as the winner, securing a residency at a top entertainment venue.

Spodsberg, who is speaking on a format panel at NATPE, says her main focus is the North and Latin American buyers, but she also meet clients and creatives from other countries at NATPE. “We also keep a close eye on what our competitors are doing in the region,” she adds.

The show: The Illusionist
The distributor: Banijay International
The broadcaster: Canale 5, Italy
Concept: A shiny floor entertainment competition for amateur magicians who want to break into the big time