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(photo credit: Keshet TV)
AFTER MONTHS of advance publicity, Channel Two finally launched its latest reality show Saturday night, with celebrated psychic Uri Geller kicking off his search for a professional heir. As part of the series, nine contestants will compete to impress Geller and a panel of judges with their magic skills, which on Saturday focused in particular on reading the minds of the judges and studio audience.
Geller and the judges agreed that the best performance of Saturday night belonged to Meni Lindenfeld, who introduced his own version of Russian roulette to Israeli TV fans. Aided by model Shiraz Tal, one of the show's celebrity judges, Lindenfeld placed a sharp blade inside one of four collapsible paper tubes, then waited, blindfolded, as Tal shifted the order of the tubes. The aspiring psychic then asked Tal to guide his hand over the tubes, leaving the audience in terrified suspense as he slammed his hand down on each of the three tubes that didn't contain the upward-pointing blade.
Though the scene hardly needed more drama, the tension was heightened by producers' decision to zero in on the face of judge and singer Maralit Tsanani, who at one point grabbed the hand of the person beside her as Lindenfeld prepared his next move.
Tsanani was effusive in her praise of the young Lindenfeld, and TV viewers appear to have loved his act just as much. The new show, the unimaginatively titled Uri Geller Searches for the Heir, trounced its competition Saturday night and was by far the highest rated show of the week. More than one-third of Saturday night's TV audience tuned in for the debut episode, with the show attracting more than 40 percent more viewers than its closest competition for the week. Geller appears to be ratings magic: a documentary on the 59-year-old psychic aired the previous night and also ranked among the week's top 10 shows.
THE RUMOR mill has been grinding out stories for years about the impending break-up of singers Moshe and Orna Datz. In recent weeks, the rumors surfaced again, this time alleging a marital crisis that had reached the point of no return. After 21 years of marriage, the rumors continued, the Datzes were now consulting divorce lawyers.
In truth, however, neither party has served any legal papers, and the whole episode may in fact just be another instance of entertainment industry incredulity that someone has managed to make a relationship last so long.
The parents of two children, the Datzes appear to be staying together for now. May they continue to do so for many happy years to come.
WANTED: A RENTAL apartment in a religious Jerusalem neighborhood for a couple with five children. The couple in question, Shuli and Michal Rand, achieved fame well beyond Israel in 2004 for their sensitive movie Ushpizin, a rare mainstream drama looking at religious life in Israel.
Fame doesn't always help to pay the rent, and according to an eviction case filed in Jerusalem recently by the owner of the Ramot apartment where the Rands and their family live, the couple have consistently failed to pay their bills on time. The Rands' rental contract expired October 22, and the landlord said the family was continuing to live illegally on his property at the time he filed the complaint.
SUCCESSFUL SINGER Lior Narkis has been told in unequivocal terms that he needs to slow down. Police caught the pop star driving well over the speed limit during a weekend stake-out in the center of the country, ordering Narkis to the side of the road Saturday night after he was clocked driving 91 k.p.h. in a 50 k.p.h. zone. Unless the singer or his lawyer can wriggle out of this one, Narkis will be relying on friends and taxis to drive him where he needs to go over the next month.