Penn & Teller: Fool Us

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Penn & Teller: Fool Us
P&T FU.png
Also known as Fool Us
Created by
  • Penn Jillette
  • Teller
  • Peter Adam Golden
  • Andrew Golder
Presented by Jonathan Ross
Narrated by Dominic Byrne
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 9
Executive producer(s)
  • Andrew Golder
  • Peter Davey
  • Peter Adam Golden
Producer(s) Johnny Thompson
Location(s) The Fountain Studios
Running time
  • approx. 45 minutes
  • approx. 65 minutes (pilot)
Production company(s) 1/17 Productions & September Films
Distributor DCD Rights[1]
Original channel ITV, STV, UTV
The CW (U.S.)
Picture format 1080i
Original release 18 June 2011

Penn & Teller: Fool Us is a British television programme. Hosted by Jonathan Ross, Fool Us is a magic competition in which magicians perform tricks in front of American magician-comedian duo Penn & Teller. If Penn & Teller cannot explain 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 at the Rio Hotel & Casino.[2]

It was announced on 28 June 2012 that ITV had cancelled the show, despite its averaging 4 million viewers, higher than the timeslot average.[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] This effectively revives the show from cancellation.

Production and format[edit]

The pilot of Fool Us was first commissioned by John Kaye Cooper, the controller of entertainment for ITV.[5] 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.[6] The eight episodes were shot in a ten-day filming block, and began airing in June 2011.[7]

Each episode starts off with the introduction stating the purpose of the series. Penn and Teller would come out and take their seat towards center stage, and hopeful magicians would perform their acts in front of them with a live studio audience. At the end of the episode, the duo perform a magic act of their own.


The pilot episode ran an hour and a half with commercial breaks.

Performers in yellow fool Penn & Teller in the episode.

Episode Air date Performers Type Nationality
Pilot 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 only Morgan & West close-up and stage magicians British
Damien O'Brien street magician British
Noel Qualter close-up magician British
1 18 June 2011, 8 pm High Jinx illusionists and circus performers British
Jon Allen street magician British
Graham Jolley mind reader and mentalist British
2 25 June 2011, 8 pm Mark Shortland magical comedy entertainer British
Mathieu Bich card illusionist French
Young and Strange street stage illusionists British
Daniel Madison card illusionist British
3 2 July 2011, 8 pm Piff the Magic Dragon magical comedy entertainer British
Soma illusionist Hungarian
Alan Hudson close-up magician British
Damien O'Brien street magician British
4 9 July 2011, 8 pm Daniel Kramer illusionist British
Romany, the Diva of Magic burlesque dancer and magician British
Alan Rorrison close-up magician British
Richard Bellars illusionist British
5 16 July 2011, 9 pm Cubic Act illusionists French
Nick Einhorn mentalist British
Michael Vincent close-up and stage magician British
Morgan & West close-up and stage magicians British
6 23 July 2011, 9 pm Gazzo street magician British
Colin Mcleod mentalist British
Keelan and Charlotte quick-change artists British
Brynolf & Ljung illusionists Swedish
7 30 July 2011, 9 pm Shawn Farquhar[a] close-up magician Canadian
Manuel Martinez illusionist "Cuban"[b]
Etienne Pradier card magician French
Chris Dugdale illusionist British
8 28 August 2011, 9 pm 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. ^ Although Penn & Teller could not explain the essence of how Farquhar had performed his card trick, Jillette stated that he had caught him performing a deck switch at the beginning of the trick, and therefore did not consider him to have fooled them completely. Nonetheless, he won the opportunity to go to Vegas.
  2. ^ Martinez presented himself as Cuban, but was outed as British by Penn & Teller following the conclusion of his act.

International broadcast[edit]

  • In Australia, the show commenced airing on ABC1 each Saturday at 9:25 pm from 1 October 2011.[1][8]
  • In New Zealand, the show commenced airing on ChoiceTV each Saturday at 7:30 pm from 28 April 2012.[9]
  • 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.[10][11]
  • 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 CW ratings[edit]

Season 1

Episode Air date A18-49 Rating/Share Viewers (Millions)
Stab a Card, Any Card… July 30, 2014 0.5/2 1.75[12]
How to Saw a Woman in Half August 6, 2014 0.5/2 1.45[13]
A Bellyful of Needles August 13, 2014 0.5/2 1.68[14]
Solid Goldfish August 20, 2014 0.5/2 1.69[15]
Water Tanks for the Memories August 27, 2014 0.5/2 1.59[16]
Teller is a Blockhead September 3, 2014 0.7/2 2.07[17]
Penn Gets Nailed September 10, 2014 0.5/2 1.73[18]
The Magic of Polyester September 17, 2014 0.5/2 1.58[19]
Teller Sucks... Helium September 24, 2014 0.5/2 1.51[20]

International versions[edit]

  • 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 licenced 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 refuse because of other commitments. Max Maven took their place.[21]


  1. ^ a b c d Roxborough, Scott (2011-11-05). "Penn & Teller to Take Brit Magic Show Format 'Fool Us' to Ukraine". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2011-11-14. 
  2. ^ "ITV Announces Commission of Penn & Teller: Fool Us". ITV. 9 December 2010. Archived from the original on 2012-1-17. Retrieved 2010-12-12.  Check date values in: |archivedate= (help)
  3. ^ Alex Fletcher (28 Jun 2012). "'Magicians', 'Penn & Teller: Fool Us' axed by BBC, ITV". TV News. Digital Spy. Retrieved 1-9-2013.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Penn and Teller: Fool Us" (Press release). ITV. 7 January 2011. Archived from the original on 2012-10-18. Retrieved 1-9-2013.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  6. ^ "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 
  7. ^ Penn Jillette (1 June 2011). "▶ Fool Us: Backstage Magic Secrets REVEALED!" (VIDEO). Penn Point. YouTube. 
  8. ^ "ABC1 Programming Airdate - Penn & Teller: Fool Us (episode one)". ABC Television Publicity. Retrieved 26 September 2011. 
  9. ^ "Penn & Teller: Fool Us ChoiceTV Promo". YouTube. Retrieved 14 July 2012. 
  10. ^ "Penn & Teller: Fool Us to air on US Television following acquisition by The CW". DCD Rights. 16 January 2014. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  11. ^ Kissell, Rick (17 April 2014). "CW Sets Summer Timeslots for 'Backpackers', Other New Shows". Variety (Penske Business Media). Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
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  21. ^ Teller's twitt, 2 February 2015

External links[edit]