Magician's family will make TV show fun

Nathan Burton's magic show? It's solid.

But when I heard Burton is closing the deal on a reality TV show? "That's the real show," I thought.

And I'm sure a lot of others did, too.

Burton, his sister Emily and his mother, Nancy, are great people, fun to be around and well-loved in the entertainment community. It's no stretch to say the good will they generate with ticket vendors is a big part of the magic show's success.

I try to avoid reality TV, so this may be an old epiphany for some. But the potential of this show proposed as "Family Magic," was a moment of realization for me: Not only is the inside story of how a Vegas show operates at least as interesting as the show itself, but it is no longer necessary to separate them.

If not overly fabricated, the TV show could explore the daily challenges of running an independent show on the Strip, a look behind the curtain no longer reserved for friends.

Emily - Nathan's younger sister who handles the technical production of the show - has a killer wit made to order for realty-show "commentary."

But Nancy, who handles everything from the accounting to the laundry, is apparently the breakout star of the "sizzle reel" used to sell the venture.

At first, "I really just stayed in the background," she says. "I thought, 'They're not interested in the old lady. ... We had a pool party so they could film and the boys all ripped off their trunks and were jumping around naked. I was just cleaning up the drinks and the sodas."

But later, "They called and said, 'We need more footage of Mom.' "

The prize footage turned out to be from the crowded dressing room.

"They're all young. They get pretty risque and I just sit there and don't pay attention."

Ah, but she does. "I play mom," she admits. "A lot of the girls and the guys, they're here by themselves. They don't have any family here. They just moved to Vegas to try to make it. ... I have all the aspirin for them and take in the pretzels and the cookies."

When Burton launched his first solo magic show in 2006, his mom moved here to help out, selling an 85-student preschool in Fort Smith, Ark.

Emily and Nancy now have cameos in the stage show, which also features a segment based on Nathan overcoming childhood learning disabilities.

It makes sense for reality TV to continue blurring the line.

"I'll tell you one thing though," Nancy cautions. "I do not want to become a Kardashian mother."

Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at or 702-383-0288.