Mat Franco, an alumnus of the University of Rhode Island, recently premiered his special “Mat Franco’s Got Magic” on NBC this past Thursday evening.
In 2014 there were riots in the streets of the URI campus after Mat Franco won season 9 of America’s Got Talent. As a previous student of the university, Franco chose to return to campus and feature some fellow Rhody Rams on his show.
Franco’s show captured him traveling from Rhode Island to Las Vegas, and featured 12 current URI students. Along the way, he showed some of his mind-blowing tricks to celebrities, family, and some new friends.
In the past, Franco visited and performed at URI’s freshmen orientation, where he explained his life in the world of magic. He was almost entirely self-taught, and began performing his own mini shows before the age of 10. Franco is also the first and only magician to win NBC’s America’s Got Talent.
Franco actively tweeted along with fans during the show’s premiere to show his excitement. He specifically tweeted about the two segments that featured students from URI.
DeThomasis, a sophomore film major with a minor in leadership studies, explained how it was a change to be able to experience what it’s like to be on both sides of the camera.
“As a film major it was really interesting to see all the things that go into making a TV show,” DeThomasis said. “I was able to talk to production assistants and other people on set about their jobs in the film industry and they gave me some tips for finding a job and internships.”
DeThomasis said that it was a cool experience to be on the show not only because she was able to meet Mat Franco, but because she had the chance to be a part of his TV special as well.
“I got my 10 seconds of fame I guess you can say, and even some advice out of it,” DeThomasis said.
Franco stills considers URI home, demonstrated by when he described how his love for the school heightened while he was on America’s Got Talent.
“The students went crazy on the night that I won,” Franco said, during his TV special. “The support I got from this university was just unbelievable.”
Co-founder of Humans of URI, Steven Leone, had the chance to be featured in the background of the second segment filmed at URI and was able to interview Franco for the ‘Humans of URI’ page.
“It was such a good experience for Humans of URI in general,” Leone said. “And [for] me specifically. He showed so much love and support for URI and it made me so happy and proud to be a ram.”
Franco’s TV special can be found online on NBC’s website under full episodes.