Darling playing Mind games

WestWind Pictures is looking to convert skeptics into believers with its new reality GoldMind -- showcasing the abilities of mentalist...

WestWind Pictures is looking to convert skeptics into believers with its new reality GoldMind — showcasing the abilities of mentalist Haim Goldenberg — set to debut Sunday on TVtropolis.

The production company introduced the show and its star to reporters on Tuesday at its Toronto offices, where Goldenberg showcased his talents by bending a spoon and moving around glasses through what he says is ‘the power of the mind.’

The 13 x 30 series, which shot in Toronto last year, follows Goldenberg around the city as he uses his talents to impress and perhaps change the lives of ordinary people. Each episode follows a theme such as money, body language, fears and mysticism. Clips of his travels around town are also on YouTube.

It’s a ‘positive reality’ show, says exec producer and WestWind CEO says Mary Darling (Little Mosque on the Prairie, Designer Guys). ‘It’s not voting somebody off the island or hoping somebody doesn’t get chosen to be the bride… it’s not any of those negative things.

‘You’re sort of leaning forward in your seat waiting for something good to happen to somebody,’ she adds.

The producers made a point of distinguishing their star’s act from the flashier antics of fellow illusionist Criss Angel. The unassuming Goldenberg carries himself more like that other Israeli spoon-bender, Uri Geller.

Goldenberg won the hearts of Darling and her husband/partner Clark Donnelly when they met in 2006, though the pair was very busy ‘learning scripted television’ with Little Mosque and could not commit right away, according to Darling.

‘We knew we would just disappoint them in our delay,’ she notes.

So Goldenberg assembled a team and shot a pilot, which he brought back to WestWind last year. Darling says they were prepared to be disappointed but were impressed by what turned out to be a ‘broadcast-able pilot episode.’

Goldenberg and the producers began developing episodes based on what the mentalist would be able to do.

‘We thought about what to do, and then how to do it,’ offers Goldenberg, adding that the show is not about believing or not, but rather about invoking a sense of wonder in the audience.

WestWind had interest from various broadcasters, according to Darling, but Canwest was ready to go into production right off the bat.

The show debuts on TVtropolis on Sunday at 6 p.m., with a second window on Mystery TV. Darling says she anticipates a second-eason order and is confident the show will eventually step up to Canwest’s main network, Global.