USA Today, Aug. 30, 2002
By Donna Freydkin, special for USA TODAY
NEW YORK ï¿½ When it comes to psychics, quite a few celebrities are finding a happy medium.
“It’s not a fad. This has been going on for years,” says psychic John Edward, the host of Crossing Over With John Edward.
Edward, of course, is daytime’s spiritual sensation whose celebrity-laden and completely overhauled syndicated show kicks off its third season on Tuesday. (The series will premiere first in daytime syndication and later on cable’s Sci Fi channel.) Perhaps because of competing clairvoyant James Van Praagh (another psychic whose daytime talk show starts airing the week of Sept. 16), Edward has a brand-new set, a viewer gallery that’s been doubled in size and a slate of at-home readings with various stars, as well as their families and friends.
“I was kind of tricked into going, but I am so glad that I went,” says rapper Coolio, one of Edward’s guests in the new season. “My aunt was there and she seemed to get some closure on the recent death of her husband. That made me feel better for her. I don’t believe that people tell the future or anything, but I do believe there are people who can get a vibe from the other side.”
Says Edward, “Coolio was in my face before the reading. He wasn’t told up front what this was about and he was shocked. But he and I had an intense dialogue and you could feel the energy in the room.”
The first celebrity episode will air in late September. Even Edward is surprised that singers and actors are agreeing to be on his show.
“They are the most skeptical,” says Edward. “I have celebrities that come to me privately, it’s never discussed or made public, and they have anonymity. But think about it ï¿½ if they go on television, they take such a major risk. Their family lives are open game.”
Nevertheless, Edward, whose first celebrity guest was soap star Linda Dano, has communed with Kirsten Dunst, Roma Downey, Ricki Lake and Gene Simmons. And in his new season, he has readings with Jenny McCarthy, Backstreet Boys A.J. McLean and Brian Littrell, and former teen icon-turned-TV-star Anthony Michael Hall.
Edward admits that not all celebrity encounters have left him starry-eyed. He says that he couldn’t connect at all with former Mayflower Madame Sidney Biddle Barrows and had to stop the session. And My Wife and Kids’ Tisha Campbell exuded an unyielding skepticism throughout her reading. “She sat in front of me looking like at me I was insane, smiling and thinking that I wasn’t getting anything right.”
Edward freely acknowledges that he often makes mistakes, adding that no profession is foolproof. He refuses to respond to naysayers.
To help boost his credibility, Edward says his producers never tell him ahead of time what celebrity he’ll be reading.
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