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Penn & Teller: Fool Us is a British-American television programme. Its first two seasons were hosted by Jonathan Ross, and the third and fourth seasons by Alyson Hannigan. Fool Us was filmed at Fountain Studios in London, England (Season 1) and the Penn & Teller Theater in Las Vegas (Season 2 onward). Fool Us is a magic competition in which magicians perform tricks in front of American magician-comedian duo Penn & Teller. If Penn & Teller cannot figure out how a trick was done, the magician or magicians who performed it win a five-star trip to Las Vegas to perform as the opening act in Penn & Teller's world-famous show, also at the Rio Hotel & Casino.[2]

Penn & Teller: Fool Us
P&T FU.png
Also known as Fool Us
Penn & Teller: Fool Us in Vegas
Genre
  • Entertainment
  • comedy
Created by
Presented by
Starring
  • Penn Jillette
  • Teller
Judges
  • Penn Jillette
  • Teller
Narrated by Dominic Byrne
Composer(s)
Country of origin United Kingdom
United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 41
Production
Executive producer(s)
  • Andrew Golder
  • Peter Davey
  • Peter Adam Golden
Producer(s) Johnny Thompson
Location(s) Fountain Studios (season 1)
Penn & Teller Theater (season 2-4)
Running time
  • approx. 45 minutes
  • approx. 65 minutes (pilot)
Production company(s) 1/17 Productions & September Films
Distributor DCD Rights[1]
Release
Original network ITV, STV, UTV (UK)
The CW (US)
Picture format 1080i
Original release 18 June 2011 – present
External links
Website www.cwtv.com/shows/penn-teller-fool-us/

It was announced on 28 June 2012 that ITV had cancelled the show, despite an averaging 4 million viewers, higher than the norm for the timeslot.[3] After finding moderate ratings success in running the ITV-produced episodes during the summer of 2014, The CW ordered a second season of original episodes to air in 2015.[4] The second season was a ratings hit for The CW, giving the network its highest ratings in that time slot compared to the previous 5 years.[5] On 11 August 2015 the series was renewed for a third season by The CW.[6] Season 3 premiered on 13 July 2016,[7][8] now hosted by Alyson Hannigan.[9] The fourth season premiered on July 13, 2017.[10]

Contents

Production and formatEdit

The pilot of Fool Us was first commissioned by John Kaye Cooper, the controller of entertainment for ITV.[11] In February 2011, it was announced that due to good viewing figures, a series of eight episodes had been commissioned, and would be produced by September Films and 1/17 Productions.[12] The eight episodes were shot in a ten-day filming block, and began airing in June 2011.[13]

Each episode starts off with the introduction stating the purpose of the series. Penn and Teller come out and take their seat towards centre stage, and hopeful magicians perform their acts in front of them with a live studio audience. After each performance, Penn and Teller privately confer and may examine any of the trick's props, while the host interviews the magicians. Penn and Teller then reveal if they know how the trick was performed, typically using cryptic language or writing down the method and presenting it privately to the magicians to confirm, as to avoid exposing the secrets behind the trick. If Penn and Teller are wrong, or cannot come up with how the trick was done, the magician wins the opportunity to later perform at one of Penn and Teller's Las Vegas shows. At the end of the episode, Penn and Teller perform a magic act of their own.

EpisodesEdit

Season Episodes Season premiere Season finale
1 9 7 January 2011 28 August 2011
2 13 6 July 2015 5 October 2015
3 13 13 July 2016 16 September 2016
4 TBA 13 July 2017 TBA

Performers in yellow fooled Penn & Teller in the episode.

Season 1Edit

No.
overall
No. in
Season
Title Air date Performers Type Nationality
1 Pilot How to Saw a Woman in Half 7 January 2011 Ali Cook close-up and stage magician British
Richard Bellars close-up and stage magician British
Michael Vincent close-up and stage magician British
John Archer magical comedy entertainer British
James More stage magician and illusionist British
Benjamin Earl illusionist British
ITV website exclusives Morgan & West close-up and stage magicians British
Damien O'Brien street magician British
Noel Qualter close-up magician British
2 1 Teller Sucks... Helium 18 June 2011 Manuel Martinez illusionist "Cuban"[a]
Shawn Farquhar[b] close-up magician Canadian
Etienne Pradier card magician French
Chris Dugdale illusionist British
3 2 Stab a Card, Any Card... 25 June 2011 Mark Shortland magical comedy entertainer British
Mathieu Bich card illusionist French
Young and Strange street stage illusionists British
Daniel Madison card illusionist British
4 3 Solid Goldfish 2 July 2011 Piff the Magic Dragon magical comedy entertainer British
Soma illusionist Hungarian
Alan Hudson close-up magician British
Damien O'Brien street magician British
5 4 Teller is a Blockhead 9 July 2011 Daniel Kramer illusionist British
Romany, the Diva of Magic burlesque dancer and magician British
Alan Rorrison close-up magician British
Richard Bellars illusionist British
6 5 Penn Gets Nailed 16 July 2011 Cubic Act illusionists French
Nick Einhorn mentalist British
Michael Vincent close-up and stage magician British
Morgan & West close-up and stage magicians British
7 6 The Magic of Polyester 23 July 2011 Gazzo street magician British
Colin McLeod mentalist British
Keelan and Charlotte quick-change artists British
Brynolf & Ljung illusionists Swedish
8 7 A Bellyful of Needles 30 July 2011 High Jinx illusionists and circus performers British
Jon Allen street magician British
Graham Jolley mind reader and mentalist British
9 8 Water Tanks for the Memories 28 August 2011 Lee Hathaway cabaret act and close-up magician British
Jack Taperell close-up magician British
Laura London illusionist British
Paul & Martin Daniels renowned magicians British
Unaired segments Chris Cox mind reader British
James Brown stage magician British
Marc Oberon card magician British
David Masters illusionist British
Noel Qualter close-up magician British
David Jay illusionist British
  1. ^ Martinez presented himself as Cuban, but was outed as British by Penn & Teller following the conclusion of his act.
  2. ^ Although Penn & Teller saw Farquhar perform a deck switch, which they had previously decided would automatically mean a contestant did not fool them, they considered themselves fooled because they could not explain the essence of how Farquhar had performed his card trick.

Season 2Edit

No.
overall
No. in
Season
Title Air date Prod.
code
Performers Type Nationality
10 1 Phone-y Business 6 July 2015 202 Jon Armstrong close-up magician American
Xavier Mortimer illusionist French
The Shocker mentalist/illusionist American
Steven Brundage close-up magician American
11 2 The Invisi-Ball Thread 13 July 2015 203 Mike Hammer illusionist American
Leon and Romy illusionists American/Australian
Shin Lim close-up magician American
Peter Boie illusionist American
12 3 Shoot to Kill 20 July 2015 202 Brian Brushwood close-up magician American
Simon Pierro illusionist German
Handsome Jack (John Lovick) comedy magician American
Kyle Knight & Mistie illusionist American
13 4 Knife of the Party 27 July 2015 204 Austin Janik close-up American
Amazing Allison mentalist American
Mac King illusionist American
Norman Ng close-up magician American
14 5 Mission Impossi-Ball 3 August 2015 205 Bill Cook close-up magician American
Wes Barker illusionist Canadian
Matthew Holtzclaw close-up magician American
David Regal illusionist American
15 6 Now THAT'S Bunny! 10 August 2015 206 Jay Sankey[a] close-up magician Canadian
Greg Wilson illusionist American
Trigg Watson close-up magician American
Jen Kramer close-up magician American
16 7 Penn's Favorite Card Trick 17 August 2015 207
Kostya Kimlat card magician Ukrainian-American
Frederick Falk close-up magician American
Chris Funk card/stage magician Canadian
Nate Dendy stage magician American
17 8 Teller Plays with a Full Deck 24 August 2015 209 Blake Vogt close-up magician American
Joshua Jay close-up magician American
Levent comedy magician American
Ben Seidman illusionist American
18 9 Star Spangled Magic 31 August 2015 210 Riley Siegler close-up magician American
Jade illusionist Chinese-American
Ran'd Shine close-up magician American
David Roth[b] coin magician American
19 10 Where There's Smoke There's Magic[15] 14 September 2015 211 Joel Meyers & Spidey mentalist American
Rick Lax close-up/card magician American
Marcus Eddie illusionist American
Bruce Gold comedy magician American
20 11 Teller Deflowers a Shadow[15] 21 September 2015 212 Scott Alexander & Puck illusionist American
Eric Jones coin magician American
Mark Calabrese close-up/card American
Paul Vigil mentalist American
21 12 Penn & Teller Ring Someone's Neck[15] 28 September 2015 208 Victor & Diamond illusionists American
Francis Menotti mentalist American
Nash Fung close-up magician Chinese-American
Chad Juros rope magician American
22 13 An Egg-Cellent Trick[15] 5 October 2015 213 Derek Hughes close-up/card magician American
Reuben Moreland illusionist American
Suzanne close-up magician American
Jared Kopf mentalist American
  1. ^ Sankey subsequently released a video on Youtube, claiming that he had in fact fooled them, but had chosen to not admit this on stage.[14]
  2. ^ Roth's award was given as an honorary award since Roth pioneered coin magic, and Penn & Teller stated that they only knew the tricks because they read his books.

Season 3Edit

No.
overall
No. in
Season
Title Air date Prod.
code
Performers Type Nationality
23 1 Won't Get Fooled Again...? 13 July 2016 304 Shawn Farquhar mentalist Canadian
Michael Kent comedy magician American
Nathan Burton illusionist American
Nathan Coe Marsh close-up magician American
24 2 Jesse Eisenberg Gets Carded 20 July 2016 303 Brett Loudermilk sword swallower American
Dan Harlan close-up/card magician American
Ryan Joyce illusionist Canadian
Kyle Eschen comedy magician American
25 3 Have A Blast 27 July 2016 302 Robert Ramirez comedy mentalist Mexican
Dominik (Krzanowski) illusionist Polish-British
Joel Ward comedy magician American
Mahdi Gilbert close-up/card magician Canadian
26 4 Penn Plays With Fire 3 August 2016 305 David and Leeman comedy magician American
Jibrizy close-up magician American
Rick Maisel escape artist American
Felix Bodden close-up/card magician Dominican
27 5 You Dirty Rathead! 10 August 2016 301 Alex Ramon illusionist American
Greg Frewin illusionist Canadian
Vinny Grosso comedy magician American
Arthur Trace close-up magician American
28 6 Penn & Teller Snake their Chances 17 August 2016 309 Elliot Zimet illusionist American
Paul Gertner close-up/card magician American
Matthew DiSero comedy mentalist Canadian
Rokas Bernatonis illusionist Lithuanian
29 7 Juggle, Juggle, Penn's in Trouble 24 August 2016 308 Vitaly Beckman illusionist Russian
Simon Coronel illusionist Australian
Mac King comedy magician American
Kevin Viner mentalist American
30 8 Here's Moxie! 31 August 2016 306 Matthew Laslo illusionist American
Rob Zabrecky mentalist American
David Garrard illusionist American
Wayne Hoffman mentalist American
31 9 The Great Escape 2 September 2016 307 Xavier Mortimer illusionist French
Fielding West comedy magician British
Caleb Wiles close up/card magician American
Kevin Hall The Magic Maniac comedy magician American
32 10 To Tea Or Not To Tea? 7 September 2016 310 Timon Krause mentalist German
Kyle Marlett close up/card magician American
The Evasons mentalists Canadian
Chef Anton illusionist American
33 11 Penn & Teller Get Trapped 9 September 2016 311 Christopher Tracy & Jim Leach[a] comedy magician American
Neil Croswell illusionist Canadian
Ben Young illusionist American
Henok mentalist Ethiopian/Irish
34 12 Penn & Teller Rip for your Pleasure 14 September 2016 312 Joseph Réohm illusionist American
Brent Braun close-up/card magician American
Chris Rose close-up magician American
Charles Bach illusionist American
35 13 Can Penn & Teller Fool Penn & Teller 16 September 2016 313 Anthony Asimov close-up magician American
Angela Funovits mentalist American
Ivan Amodei mentalist American
Vince Charming illusionist American
  1. ^ Performed as the magic duo "Hal & Keller" parodying Penn & Teller.

Season 4Edit

No.
overall
No. in
Season
Title[16] Air date Prod.
code
Performers Type Nationality U.S. viewers
(millions)
36 1 Penn & Teller Teach You a Trick 13 July 2017 (2017-07-13) 402 Richard Turner card mechanic American 1.622[17]
Young & Strange illusionist British
Kayla Drescher illusionist American
Mike Super mentalist American
37 2 Penn, Teller and a Mind Reading Chicken 20 July 2017 (2017-07-20) 401 Jonathan Burns comedy magician American 1.719[18]
Jo De Rijck mentalist Belgian
David Caserta illusionist American
Jimmy Ichihana close-up/card magician American
38 3 Teller Flips a Bird 27 July 2017 (2017-07-27) 403 Misty Lee close-up magician American 1.561[19]
Shin Lim[a] close-up magician American
Andi Gladwin comedy magician British
Hatfields illusionist Canadian
39 4 50/50 Chance 3 August 2017 (2017-08-03) 405 Matt Johnson escape artist Canadian 1.636[20]
Siegfried Tieber close-up/card magician Ecuadorian/ Austrian/ Colombian
Jason Fields close-up magician American
Jessica Jane Peterson illusionist American
40 5 Does This Trick Ring a Bell? 10 August 2017 (2017-08-10) 407 Dyno Staats illusionist American 1.525[21]
Aiden Sinclair mentalist American
Axel Adler illusionist Swedish
David Parr close-up/card magician American
41 6 Something Fishy This Way Comes 17 August 2017 (2017-08-17) 412 Dan Sperry illusionist American 1.49[22]
Naathan Phan TBA British
Jean-Pierre Parent comedy magician TBA
Richard Forget TBA Canadian
42 7 A Big Round of Applause for Alyson 24 August 2017 (2017-08-24) TBA Riccardo Berdini TBA TBA TBD
Yan Markson TBA TBA
Ondrej Psenicka close-up magician Czech
Glenn Morphew TBA TBA
43 8 I Dream of Genie Tube 7 September 2017 (2017-09-07) TBA Dennis Watkins mentalist American TBD
Jeff McBride close-up/card
magician
American
Kevin Li TBA TBA
Sergio Starman TBA TBA
  1. ^ Appeared in an earlier episode where he also fooled Penn & Teller.

ReceptionEdit

Readers of UKGameshows.com named it the second best new game show of 2011 in their "Hall of fame" poll.[23]

International broadcastEdit

  • In Australia, the show commenced airing on ABC1 each Saturday at 9:25 pm from 1 October 2011.[1][24]
  • In New Zealand, the show commenced airing on ChoiceTV each Saturday at 7:30 pm from 28 April 2012.[25]
  • The CW acquired the series for broadcast in the United States, where it premiered on 30 July 2014. The pilot episode was trimmed to one hour (including commercial breaks) for its CW airing.[26][27]
  • The series has also been sold to BBC Entertainment in Scandinavia, Africa, and Latin America, to screen at a date yet to be announced.[1]
  • The series has been aired in India by Comedy Central India.
  • In Canada, the series aired on Bite TV before it was rebranded to Makeful on 24 August 2015.
  • Channel 5 bought the UK rights to the second season and premiered it on 6 March 2016.[28]
  • ViuTV aired the second season in Hong Kong on each Sunday from 8 January 2017.[29]
  • Tr!ck aired the show in Russia.[30]

US ratingsEdit

Season 1

Episode Air date A18-49 Rating/Share Viewers (Millions)
Stab a Card, Any Card… 30 July 2014 0.5/2 1.75[31]
How to Saw a Woman in Half 6 August 2014 0.5/2 1.45[32]
A Bellyful of Needles 13 August 2014 0.5/2 1.68[33]
Solid Goldfish 20 August 2014 0.5/2 1.69[34]
Water Tanks for the Memories 27 August 2014 0.5/2 1.59[35]
Teller is a Blockhead 3 September 2014 0.7/2 2.07[36]
Penn Gets Nailed 10 September 2014 0.5/2 1.73[37]
The Magic of Polyester 17 September 2014 0.5/2 1.58[38]
Teller Sucks... Helium 24 September 2014 0.5/2 1.51[39]

Season 2

Episode Air date A18-49 Rating/Share Viewers (Millions)
Phone-y Business 6 July 2015 0.5/2 1.66[40]
The Invisi-Ball Thread 13 July 2015 0.5/2 2.01[41]
Shoot to Kill 20 July 2015 0.5/2 1.81[42]
Knife of the Party 27 July 2015 0.6/3 2.24[43]
Mission Impossi-Ball 3 August 2015 0.5/2 2.06[44]
Now THAT'S Bunny! 10 August 2015 0.6/2 2.35[45]
Penn's Favorite Card Trick 17 August 2015 0.5/2 2.10[46]
Teller Plays with a Full Deck 24 August 2015 0.5/2 1.87[47]
Star Spangled Magic 31 August 2015 0.6/2 2.11[48]
Where There's Smoke There's Magic 14 September 2015 0.5/2 1.46[49]
Teller Deflowers a Shadow 21 September 2015 0.3/1 1.15[50]
Penn & Teller Ring Someone's Neck 28 September 2015 0.4/1 1.34[51]
An Egg-Cellent Trick 5 October 2015 0.4/1 1.36[52]

Season 3

Episode Air date A18-49 Rating/Share Viewers (Millions)
Won't Get Fooled Again...? 13 July 2016 0.4/2 1.46[53]
Jesse Eisenberg Gets Carded 20 July 2016 0.3/1 1.21[54]
Penn & Teller Have a Blast 27 July 2016 0.3/1 1.18[55]
Penn Plays with Fire 3 August 2016 0.4/2 1.42[56]
You Dirty Rathead! 10 August 2016 0.4/1 1.43[57]
Penn & Teller Snake their Chances 17 August 2016 0.3/1 1.47[58]
Juggle, Juggle, Penn's in Trouble 24 August 2016 0.4/2 1.49[59]
Here's Moxie! 31 August 2016 0.5/2 1.78[60]
The Great Escape 2 September 2016 0.3/1 1.28[61]
Tea Or Not To Tea 7 September 2016 0.4/1 1.54[62]
Penn & Teller Get Trapped 9 September 2016 0.3/1 1.41[63]
Penn & Teller Rip for Your Pleasure 14 September 2016 0.4/2 1.38[64]
Can Penn & Teller Fool Penn & Teller 16 September 2016 0.3/1 1.34[65]

Season 4

Episode Air date A18-49 Rating/Share Viewers (Millions)
Penn & Teller Teach You a Trick 13 July 2017 0.4/2 1.62[66]
Penn, Teller and a Mind Reading Chicken 20 July 2017 0.4/2 1.72[67]
Teller Flips a Bird 27 July 2017 0.4/2 1.56[68]
50/50 Chance 3 August 2017 0.4/2 1.64[69]
Does This Trick Ring a Bell? 10 August 2017 0.3/1 1.53[70]
Something Fishy This Way Comes 17 August 2017 0.4/2 1.49[71]

International versionsEdit

  • In 2011 it was reported that the format had been sold to Ukraine broadcaster STB, who would produce a local version.[1]
  • In 2012 the show was licensed to Israel's Channel 2. The show was renamed Mi Yapil Et Ha Master ("Who Can Fool The Master?"). Penn & Teller were asked to be the judging magicians but they had to decline due to other commitments. Max Maven took their place, and the winner of the show was mentalist Eran Biderman.[72]

ReferencesEdit

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  2. ^ "ITV Announces Commission of Penn & Teller: Fool Us". ITV. 9 December 2010. Archived from the original on 17 January 2012. Retrieved 2010-12-12. 
  3. ^ Alex Fletcher (28 June 2012). "'Magicians', 'Penn & Teller: Fool Us' axed by BBC, ITV". TV News. Digital Spy. Retrieved 2013-01-09. 
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  7. ^ Kissell, Rick. "CW's 'Penn & Teller: Fool Us,’ Other Alternative Series Get Premiere Dates". Variety.com. Variety Media, LLC. Retrieved 14 May 2016. 
  8. ^ "'Penn & Teller: Fool Us' Moves to New Premiere Date – Wednesday, July 13". The Futon Critic. 20 June 2016. Retrieved 21 June 2016. 
  9. ^ "Alyson Hannigan to host Penn & Teller: Fool Us in season 3 - EW.com". Entertainment Weekly's EW.com. Retrieved 31 March 2016. 
  10. ^ http://variety.com/2017/tv/news/tv-news-roundup-cw-announces-2017-summer-premiere-dates-1202020174/
  11. ^ "Penn and Teller: Fool Us" (Press release). ITV. 7 January 2011. Archived from the original on 18 October 2012. Retrieved 2013-01-09. 
  12. ^ "ITV orders Ross 'Penn & Teller' series". Digital Spy. 17 February 2011. Retrieved 2011-02-22. ITV spokesperson confirmed to DS this afternoon that the series had been ordered 
  13. ^ Penn Jillette (1 June 2011). "▶ Fool Us: Backstage Magic Secrets REVEALED!" (video). Penn Point. YouTube. 
  14. ^ HOW I (SECRETLY) FOOLED PENN + TELLER
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  53. ^ Porter, Rick (14 July 2016). "Wednesday final ratings: ESPYs, ‘Big Brother’ and ‘AGT’ adjust up; ‘The Night Shift,’ ‘Wayward Pines’ adjust down". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved 14 July 2016. 
  54. ^ Porter, Rick (21 July 2016). "Wednesday final ratings: ‘America’s Got Talent’ and ‘Whose Line’ adjust up". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved 21 July 2016. 
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  57. ^ Porter, Rick (11 August 2016). "Wednesday final ratings: Olympics adjust up". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved 11 August 2016. 
  58. ^ Porter, Rick (18 August 2016). "Wednesday final ratings: Olympics, 'Big Brother' and others unchanged". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved 18 August 2016. 
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  65. ^ Porter, Rick (19 September 2016). "Friday final ratings: '20/20' adjusts up, 'Masters of Illusion,' 'Penn & Teller' adjust down". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved 19 September 2016. 
  66. ^ Porter, Rick (14 July 2017). "'America’s Got Talent’ adjusts up: Thursday final ratings". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved 14 July 2017. 
  67. ^ Porter, Rick (July 21, 2017). "’Big Brother’ adjusts up, ‘Hollywood Game Night’ and ‘Zoo’ adjust down: Thursday final ratings". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved July 21, 2017. 
  68. ^ Porter, Rick (July 28, 2017). "Beat Shazam’ and ‘Penn & Teller’ adjust up, ‘Zoo’ adjusts down: Thursday final ratings". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved July 30, 2017. 
  69. ^ Welch, Alex (August 4, 2017). "NFL preseason and ‘Zoo’ adjust down: Thursday final ratings". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved August 4, 2017. 
  70. ^ Porter, Rick (August 11, 2017). "'Big Brother’ stays on top as everything adjusts down: Thursday final ratings". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved August 12, 2017. 
  71. ^ Porter, Rick (August 18, 2017). "‘Big Brother’ adjusts up; ‘Boy Band,’ ‘Beat Shazam,’ ‘Whose Line,’ NBC shows adjust down: Thursday final ratings". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved August 18, 2017. 
  72. ^ Teller's twitter, 2 February 2015

External linksEdit