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April 23, 2014

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The Amazing Johnathan is back with web series and podcast



Criss Angel’s Fourth of July barbecue with The Amazing Johnathan, left, and Lance Burton, right.

Internet viewers will learn The Amazing Johnathan’s favorite magic effects, pranks and practical jokes in his new web TV series and podcast. A.J., who holds the record as the longest-running comedy magician in Las Vegas history, is back with “Burn Unit” just weeks after ending his run at Bally’s.

The first episode airs tonight on the Vegas Video Network, which will produce future episodes in its near-Strip studio every other Wednesday. I had lunch last week with A.J. at Mon Ami Gabi in the Paris with Penn Jillette, Anthony Cools, Carrot Top and Taylor Hicks. I also ran into him at a recent webisode taping of the new “Absinthe” online TV series.

Magically, somehow he was able to get a Splenda packet into my cell phone and then shake it out! “Viewers will be able to use all of those practical jokes in everyday life,” he said.

He told me he wasn’t anxious to return to a Strip hotel residency but wasn’t retiring fully: “Instead, I’ll pick what I want to do where and when. ‘Burn Unit’ will be unlike anything seen before. To make it great, I wanted to work with a company who understood what it takes to produce a high-quality show that I and my fans would be proud of.”

The show will feature interviews with his friends in the local entertainment community, along with visiting celebrities and magicians. As with all VVN programming, “Burn Unit” will broadcast live and feature live-chat questions from the online audience. The show also will be available as audio- and video-on-demand at and and through syndication partners.

“When I moved to Las Vegas in 2005, the first show I insisted on seeing was ‘The Amazing Johnathan’ at the Sahara,” said Scott Whitney, founder of VVN. “As a longtime fan, I am very excited about producing a show that will deliver a weekly dose of his inspired insanity to a worldwide audience.”

A.J. says the show will not be suitable for anyone younger than 16. “Get ready, world -- this is going to be crazy!” he summed up.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

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