TV Daily

Salon's guide to what to watch on Wednesday: "Phenomenon" launches a search for the "next great mentalist," whatever that means.

Topics: Television,

Prime Pick

Photo: NBC

NBC may be depending on growing confusion, curiosity and rubbernecking to attract viewers to “Phenomenon” (8 p.m. EDT), an eight-week reality competition for mentalists hosted by “mystifier” Criss Angel and mentalist Uri Geller. Yes, the judges will vote on which competitor is the “next great mentalist” (huh?) based on live demonstrations of each contestant’s “mystifying talents.” But by “mystifying talents” do they mean “cool tricks with smoke and mirrors” or the “ability to bend spoons, levitate and predict the future, on command”? And isn’t this whole exercise only going to remind us of that time David Copperfield dragged a gigantic triangular stage to the middle of the Bermuda Triangle just so he could stand, glowering, in tight black pants as dry ice floated past his feet? We can only hope so.

Also…

TLC’s new reality series “Marriage Camp” (premieres at 7 p.m. EDT) tries to fix broken marriages, the inhabitants of the CBS child labor camp “Kid Nation” (8 p.m. EDT) battle pests of all stripes, and Peter Krause continues to bring his signature mix of angst and anger to the filthy-rich-family dramedy “Dirty Sexy Money” (10 p.m. EDT on ABC). Meanwhile, Game 1 of the World Series begins at 8 p.m. EDT on Fox.



On the talk shows

Regis and Kelly

ABC, 9 a.m. EDT

Steve Carell, Blake Lively, Carrie Underwood, guest host Jimmy Kimmel

The View

ABC, 11 a.m. EDT

George Carlin, James Lipton, Feist

Ellen DeGeneres

Syndicated, check local listings

Anthony Hopkins, Nicole Scherzinger

Oprah Winfrey

Syndicated, check local listings

What it’s like to be gay around the world

Charlie Rose

PBS, check local listings

Tavis Smiley, Jim Lehrer

Larry King

CNN, 9 p.m. EDT

Panel discussion on CNN’s “Planet in Peril” with Anderson Cooper, Jeff Corwin, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Orlando Bloom, Sebastian Copeland, Alicia Silverstone, Bo Derek, Lance Armstrong

Jon Stewart

Comedy Central, 11 p.m. EDT

Ben Affleck (repeat)

Stephen Colbert

Comedy Central, 11:30 p.m. EDT

Craig Newmark (repeat)

David Letterman

CBS, 11:30 p.m. EDT

Sean Penn, Barry Sonnenfeld, Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals (repeat)

Jay Leno

NBC, 11:35 p.m. EDT

Jamie Foxx, Tim Gunn, Paolo Nutini (repeat)

Tavis Smiley

PBS, check local listings

Walter Mosley, Col. Stephen Twitty

Jimmy Kimmel

ABC, 12:05 a.m. EDT

Josh Harnett, Tila Tequila, Ben Harper

Conan O’Brien

NBC, 12:35 a.m. EDT

Steve Carell, Jennifer Esposito, Flight of the Conchords (repeat)

Craig Ferguson

CBS, 12:35 a.m. EDT

50 Cent, Emily Deschanel (repeat)

Contributors: Megan Doll, Heather Havrilesky, Eryn Loeb, Amy Reiter

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