Penn & Teller begin taping ‘Secrets of the Universe’

They may not have the key to the “Secrets of the Universe,” but that won’t stop Rio headliners Penn & Teller from exploring the territory in their new Discovery series of the same name.

P&T are scheduled to tape the six-part show’s first episode Wednesday and Thursday at the same local studio the duo called home for seven of the eight seasons their previous series ran on Showtime.

On that show, P&T debunked all sorts of beliefs; on “Secrets of the Universe,” they’ll challenge viewers to “Guess the Lie” among the 10 outrageous investigations featured each episode. (Sample topic: “What happens to Teller when he’s lowered into a tank of piranhas?”)

As Penn Jillette (the duo’s tall, talkative half) commented when he and Teller announced the new Discovery deal, “If there are two things Penn & Teller stand for, it’s the truth and lying, although not necessarily in that order. This show has both.”

But “Secrets of the Universe” isn’t the only Penn & Teller TV show shooting here this week; winners of their British series “Fool Us” are expected to take the stage at the Rio this weekend.

Saturday ‘Nitro’: The in-your-face stunts unfolding at the MGM Grand Garden arena Saturday night will be even more in-your-face in 3-D.

That’s the plan for “Nitro Circus Live” as 11-time X Games gold medalist Travis Pastrana and his fellow daredevils plan to execute 10 world firsts during their action sports show, including triple back flips and “all sorts of other fun stuff,” promises Jeremy Rawle of Godfrey Entertainment, executive producer of the upcoming “Nitro Circus” 3-D movie.

“The Vegas show will be the most explosive show,” Rawle says, in part because Las Vegas “seems to be the epicenter of amazing live entertainment” — which should make the Nitro Circus stars, veterans of their own MTV series, feel right at home.

Inside the MGM arena, “all sorts of motorcycle ramps” will challenge the performers — along with a 50-foot “Gigant-a-ramp” that’s “both inspiring and comical,” Rawle says, “and very entertaining.”

With a show featuring “a lot of the world’s best action sports athletes,” he points out, it’s hardly surprising that they would “push and try to come up with something new.”

Casting ‘Boom’: The feature comedy “Here Comes the Boom” — with Kevin James as a teacher raising money to save his school’s music program by becoming a mixed martial arts fighter — isn’t scheduled to arrive here until June 13.

But Bill Dance Casting is already looking for extras (all ages, types and ethnicities, Screen Actors Guild and nonunion) to play UFC audience members in the movie’s Vegas scenes.

If you’re interested, and you’re at least 21 years old, email photos to — or send them via good old snail mail to Bill Dance Casting/Attn: “Here Comes the Boom,” 4605 Lankershim Blvd., Suite 110, North Hollywood CA 91602.

Flying high: The Smithsonian Channel’s “Aerial America” was scheduled to take to the skies Saturday and Sunday, capturing high-defiition bird’s-eye views, via helicopter, of such Southern Nevada landmarks as Red Rock Canyon, the Neon Boneyard, Valley of Fire — and, naturally, the Strip glittering in all its after-dark glory. The shoot is part of a 50-state series focusing on sky-high views of national landmarks; the Nevada episode debuts next year.

Quick hits: Other projects filming around town this week range from British TV’s “Justin Lee Collins: Weird & Wonderful Vegas Adventure” to the VH1 pilot “Girls in the Game,” about a business that represents sports stars.

And “Jeff Black Magic: The TV Show” was scheduled to conclude a three-day shoot Sunday, focusing on the award-winning Black performing close-up magic .

“We felt that Las Vegas was a beautiful backdrop” for the 16-episode series, explains producer Kambiz Mostofizadeh , especially because it’s “a city that’s almost synonymous with magic. When you think Las Vegas, you think ‘magic show.’ “

Carol Cling’s Shooting Stars column appears Mondays. Contact her at (702) 383-0272 or ccling@reviewjournal. com.

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