I must clarify. When I agreed with maloney's statement about blaine, copperfield, etc. I was under the impression that his tone was indicating he meant in the current age of magic. As you said, the last decade or so. Within the media, I believe they have helped. I believe maloney's statement was a little simplified. He should probably have put it, "with the foundation of magic started by the earliest performers; Angel, Copperfield, Burton, Blaine, Sigfried and Roy, etc. have put magic where it is today". That statement is a little more complete, but could also probably be argued.
Angel has nothing to do with the "current state of magic" and frankly, neigther do most of the modern stars. Magic IS, and WAS and shall continue to be no matter who's it's current headliner.
Who could best be shouldered with the credit for magic's popularity over the last decade? The answer is Mac King. His series of TV specials featuring the greatest performers the art has to offer provided a huge boost in the art's popularity.
1: Mac King - A series of TV specials aimed at displaying magic's greatest performers for the world to see.
2: David Copperfield - He simply became a legend, the modern Merlin. Copperfield reminded audiences that magicians can make anything possible.
3: Sigfried and Roy - If only for the sake of the tiger attack of a few years ago, Sigfried and Roy have helped keep magic in the spotlight for over a decade.
4: Lance Burton - One of the real workers. Lance has performed in Vegas for years - PERSONALLY keeping magic in the public eye.
5: David Blaine - for the last few years David has been the face of magic - mysterious and a bit creepy. His specials reignited a shallowing public interest in magic.
6: Angel - Criss rode Blaine's coat tails into fame. While TLC was airing and re-airing Blaine's specials (and maintaining GREAT ratings) A&E picked up Mindfreak in an attempt to level the playing field. Mindfreak's ratings started high, dropped, and only recovered when TLC stopped airing the Blaine specials - Angel became the only game in town.
It's not that Angel has brought people to magic, it's actually the opposite; magic has brought audiences to Angel. Audiences want to see magic, and since Angel is the only one on TV right now - they'll accept his brand if they must.