Crossing controversy

Studios USA firmly defended the star of its high-profile series Crossing Over With John Edward last week, following an article questioning the legitimacy of Edward, who calls himself a psychic medium.

A studio spokesperson called the March 5 Time
story "a blatant case of irresponsible journalism and an embarrassment for a major news weekly," adding the writer of the article "never watched the show" on cable's Sci-Fi channel.

The article quotes audience member Michael O'Neill, who was selected by Edward in an attempt to "contact" O'Neill's dead grandfather. O'Neill says Edward's psychic powers missed the mark several times. But when the show was edited, O'Neill said, it appeared that O'Neill was responding positively to statements that, in fact, he disagreed with.

O'Neill also suspects that show handlers concocted an hour-long technical delay before the show to listen to the waiting audience with hidden microphones. The show did not respond to Time on that.

Last week, Studios USA was taking the any-publicity-is-good-publicity position. A spokesperson said, "The idea that we are getting this kind of press for a show that hasn't hit the air yet in syndication gives us more optimism that we are onto something big."