MIPCOM awaits David Merlini stunt

Escape artist will hold his breath in world record attempt

CANNES -- MIPCOM organizers were holding their breath Monday in anticipation of a stunt planned for the opening cocktail reception in which escape artist David Merlini will attempt to break the world underwater record.

"I do hope we have insurance," quipped one organizer on a coffee break Monday afternoon. "He did say he had practiced in his bath, but what if he doesn't make it?"

Merlini will attempt to break the current underwater world record of 17 minutes and 19 seconds, with mental support from the world-famous mystifier, Uri Geller. Merlini will attempt to hold his breath for 20 minutes.

The organizer was unclear whether the stunt would take place in the swimming pool of the Martinez Hotel where the reception will be held, or in a private tank.

In recent years Merlini has attracted worldwide attention with a number of spectacular events. These include spending 33 hours frozen in ice while restrained, hanging strapped in a straitjacket under a speeding helicopter and being trapped in a burning car and dropped 300 feet.

Geller is on air worldwide with his latest show, "The Successor" (The next Uri Geller), which airs on NBC in the U.S.; Canada (CTV); Australia (Nine Network); Iceland (365); Turkey (Star TV); Hungary (TV 2); the Netherlands (SBS 6) and all over Pan-Latin America (ANE). A second season is planned for spring.