According to Forbes, David Blaine's stunts earn $2 million per year...
Jackie - Free Diver/Grad Student
May 9, 2006 at 16:50:26
Abe you're right about the amount but wrong about the per show fee. According to Forbes, Blaine cut a deal with ABC for four TV shows for $250,000 each.
The stunts are actually quite trivial and unoriginal--this one was nothing more than yet another "how long can a scuba diver stay underwater" event albeit with much better "made for TV" packaging. You can almost hear the ABC execs at the preproduction meetings screaming for some kind of climax, hence, the old free diving gimmick: Yet another boring "how long can he hold his breath" record attempt.
But the biggest problem with Blaine's stunts is that they lack risk and therefore drama. Shriveled skin and self-confessed muscle pain is kid's stuff compared to Houdini and Evel Knievel. But that's all it really takes in overpopulated TV-land where everything is aimed at 10-year-old kids and adults with 10-year-old mentalities.
Blaine makes money but he doesn't make awe-inspiring magic. You need imagination to do that.