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'Houdini' gains solid audience for the History Channel

It looks like Adrien Brody’s magic lessons paid off.

Part one of Houdini garnered 3.7 million viewers last night, making it the most-viewed cable miniseries of this year. History Channel’s take on the storied magician chronicles his life of fame, espionage, and infamous stunts, and is based on the book Houdini: A Mind in Chains: A Psychoanalytic Portrait by Bernard C. Meyer.

Houdini’s premiere is a soft opening in comparison to the History Channel’s previous slate of miniseries, which have reached ratings peaks. In 2012, Hatfields & McCoys garnered 13.9 million viewers over a Memorial Day weekend, drawing one of the largest ratings in cable television, and in 2013, The Bible  attracted 10.8 million viewers.

The History Channel has another miniseries burning on its slate, Texas Rising, about the Texas Revolution against Mexico, which is set to premiere in 2015.

Part two of Houdini will conclude tonight at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

'Houdini' is pure biopic cheese... and occasionally a campy delight

There are at least a dozen great movies to be made out of the life of Harry Houdini, the magician/escapist/pre-cinematic showman/enemy of spiritualism. Unfortunately, History’s new Houdini tries to be all those movies and a few more. The result is a grab-bag of biopic clichés, awkwardly strung together by star Adrien Brody’s narration. Brody sounds like he’s auditioning for any of the parts in Sin City 3, and he overcooks every half-baked line into pure cheesecake: “The one thing I can’t seem to escape from… is me.” Or: “Some things can hit you in the gut worse than any punch.” Or, I kid you not, about three minutes later: “The only thing more devastating than a punch to the gut… is an arrow through the heart.” READ FULL STORY

Adrien Brody's next trick: turning into Houdini

Before Adrien Brody was an actor, he did magic tricks. And on Sept. 1, Brody will return to the screen as the greatest magician of them all: Harry Houdini.

Brody learned the magic trade when he was six years old from one of his mother’s coworkers at The Village Voice who “had all these crazy gadgets and weird tricks and gizmos that he would review and discuss,” Brody said. “He would let me take a coin trick or something and show it to me, and I’d go around and practice on all of my mom’s coworkers and develop a pattern.” READ FULL STORY

Now you see him: First look at Adrien Brody in History's 'Houdini'

What scares Erik Weisz—better known as escape artist extraordinaire Harry Houdini? A lot of things, according to this promo for History’s upcoming bio-miniseries: drowning, heights, crowds. Even so, it’s clear that the father of modern stage magic doesn’t let dread get the best of him: “Some fears you face head-on,” he says in the following exclusive video, thoughtfully waving a pair of handcuffs. “Some you take to your grave.” READ FULL STORY


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