Today, the Travel Channel runs a new TV show based in Vegas and starring Strip performer Jeff Civillico. But there’s a catch.
The show, “Vegas Strip Search,” is a “pilot” at this point — a premiere-episode trial. If people watch it, it’s in. If ratings are zero, it’s out.
Because this is a pilot, the Travel Channel hasn’t promoted it (as far as I can tell).
So it’s up to viewers to watch it at 3 p.m. today, then tweet reviews to @travelchannel and @jeffcivillico.
What’s “Vegas Strip Search” about? Civillico explains.
“The show is kind of like ‘America’s Got Talent’ on the road, with a ‘Dirty Jobs’ component,” Civillico says.
That means Civillico travels the country to meet wild performers, and they teach him how to do their tricks.
“I learned how to eat fire. I learned how to do whip-cracking. I learned how to do speed-chain saw carving and extreme pogo-sticking,” Civillico says.
What in the hell is “extreme pogo-sticking”?
“They do CO2-juiced pogos that shoot you, like, 10 feet in the air,” Civillico says. “He pogos over my car. He has the world record for the most consecutive backflips on a pogo stick.
“That’s my favorite part. I get to try all this stuff, and I don’t get a chance to practice it, or prepare for it, or even know what I’m doing.”
“Vegas Strip Search” is an unusual Vegas entry for TV because it’s family-friendly, just like Civillico’s show “Comedy in Action” at The Quad at 2 p.m. every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.
Lots of families with kids go see Civillico’s blend of comedy, magic, knife-juggling and his balancing of a 14-foot ladder on his chin.
His signature act is comically getting audience members to help him climb aboard a huge unicycle to do tricks on that one-wheeled monstrosity.
But Civillico, who is kind of reminiscent of Jim Carrey, is actually good at climbing up on unicycles. He holds a silly world record for bungee jumping (off a cliff in New Zealand) while attached to a unicycle.
“That was years ago,” he says. “I was young and stupid then. Now I’m just eating fire and jumping off CO2 pogo sticks.”
If “Vegas Strip Search” gets picked up, at least two good things happen, he says.
First, he would choose a winning performer on each week’s “Vegas Strip Search” and fast-track them to Vegas to do one-time bits during his Quad show.
That way, TV show winners would get to skip all the steps Civillico went through (performing on streets, at theme parks and on cruise ships) and get light-warped straight to a Vegas stage, if briefly.
And second, he says:
“I think it’s good for Las Vegas because it would be a current show that would be taped periodically at a show on the Strip. It keeps Vegas fun and exciting.
“That’s what you want Vegas to be, right?”
Katie Couric was all over the Strip on Friday while taping a Vegas episode of her “Katie” talk show, tweeting photos from Mandalay Bay’s Foundation Room and another photo of herself getting frisky with Tim McGraw before Sunday’s Academy of Country Music Awards.
Doug Elfman’s column appears Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. He also writes for Neon on Fridays. Email him at email@example.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.