One thing you have to consider with a Bio on A&E is that it is on A&E which also happens to host Mindfreak. So we must also ask ourselves if there was anything bad to say about him would they? The station would not be very smart to trash one of their golden boys but to put him in a shining star of charity and good will would certainly help with his upcoming season. We are magicians, I would hope by now you would know not to just see things at face value.
I was interested in Criss in his first season. He was new and testing new grounds. It was interesting seeing what he would do with the power and influence he had over the perception of his magic. At the end of the first season I thought he had done ok. Sure I spotted a bunch of camera tricks and stooges but I still kept it together.
Things might get better in the second season. They did not. Half way through the second season I was done. An effect without the use of cameras or stooges came once in a blue moon and it just was not worth it. On top of this Criss had begun doing stupid things such as lying half naked over Houdinis grave or calling out fellow magicians on national TV. His ego began rising so high that even the many chains around his neck could not weigh it down. He was given a contract to construct a show at the Luxor which was universally panned across the board. Great to see that the man who is currently in charge of our collective image has an ego and talent comparable to Gob Bluths.
If all this were not enough for you I can give a little fact that I picked up from someone that worked on the show. No this is not some sound guy for a day, this is a member of the surreal family from the first couple of seasons. You remember the grouping of people who wandered around in the desert at the interludes of the show. Well I just happened to get a ride from one of them and boy did he have a story. The jist was that when the Luxor wanted the stage show they also wanted the family to be apart if it. They offered the whole cast of the family a large sum of money (a couple million a piece) to sign a contract that would last only a few years (forgive me if I am wrong but I believe it was 2 years) and they turned it down. He told me that the decision was almost universal that for that amount they would not want to spend another 5 minutes working with Criss. His ego and attitude had pushed away those that had helped him bring his show up to begin with.
Remember Banachek from the first few seasons? Whatever happened to him being a consult on the show? Well it just so happens that my little chat also included the story of why Banachek was fired.
Banachek as we know contributed a lot to the show even though this was never mentioned in the actual show. Banachek was asked for an interview for radio (I believe, might have been a mag) The interview was covered a handful of things such as his personal work, future projects, and a mention of his involvement on Mindfreak. Bancheck acknowledged the question and gave the standard pleasant thing that you say about something in an interview.
Now as soon as Criss heard the interview he told Banachek that he was fired. Not because he had spoken poorly of Criss but because he did not speak more about him and his show. It was Banacheks interview but Criss could not stand to have someone else steal some spotlight.
This is what I was told by someone who saw it first hand. Kind of puts the whole Phenomenon fiasco in perspective.
Oh, to wrap this up I don't like Criss.
I'm guessing there was some pretty big exaggerating going on there (not from you, from the one you got a ride from). I find it almost impossible to believe that the "surreal family" was offered a sum of money anywhere near a couple million a piece for a two year contract. Perhaps two million to be split collectively, but individually I'm not buying it (even collectively sounds like too much). Actually I would find it impossible to believe that they'd be offered one million a piece considering their contribution to the show would for the most part be pretty negligible in regards to selling tickets. Like him or hate him, Criss Angel alone is the name that people are going to see.
Perhaps you know since you're aquainted with one or more of the surreal family, but what are they doing now to make money? Are any of them making anywhere near the 7 figure mark? Do you really think they would turn down making that kind of life changing money over a couple year period because they don't like their boss? In the real world, plenty of people don't like their boss but put up with it to try and ultimately make a better life for themselves. I have no proof one way or the other, but my guess is it was a very exaggerated story to illustrate how little they think of him.
And for the record, I am not a fan of Mindfreak in the least.