Long Island Medium is an American realitiy TV series that currently airs on TLC. It premiered in September of 2011. The shows stars Theresa Caputo, a medium based in Hicksville, New York, and follows her life as she juggles the problems of everyday things, as well as communicating with spirits. The second season premiered on March 25, 2012.
Each episode focuses on Caputo as she conducts private and group readings, with both believers and skeptics. Her husband Larry and two children, Victoria and Larry, have learned to live with her mediumship, but it can be trying on their relationships. Especially when messages from the dead spontaneously interrupt dinner, visits to the dentist or grocery shopping trips.
Caputo claims she has the ability to communicate with people who have died. This claim is unproven and Caputo has been criticized for employing so called "cold reading" techniques, which charlatans and fraudsters have been using for centuries. "Things are just there," she says. "When I was younger I used to actually see images and hear things. As I got older and shut down, it had changed. Because it was frightening to see people standing there who actually weren’t there. For me now, I feel spirit. I could be in a store standing next to a woman, and her husband passed of a heart attack. I would feel as if someone was laboring my breath, like I couldn’t breathe. That’s my symbol for someone passing by the heart, chest, lung area when they labor my breathing."
On April 1, 2012, the James Randi Educational Foundation awarded Caputo a Pigasus Award for being the "psychic" performer who fooled the greatest number of people with the least effort in the preceding year. JREF founder James Randi stated "[the show] is utter nonsense and dangerous". A Pigasus award was also given to TLC for continuing to air the show.
Season 1 of Long Island Medium averaged 1.3 million viewers per episode.
Variety's Gregg Goldstein emphasized the appeal of Theresa's vivacious personality. "In an era of hit reality shows about families and denizens of New Jersey, the series' equally big selling point is the dynamic with her husband and two wisecracking teenagers, making it play like a combination of Real Housewives of New Jersey and Bewitched - particularly when their frustrations surface over her random communications with what she calls 'Spirit.'"
The Season 2 premiere episode drew 2.28 million viewers.
In June 2012, Mrs. Caputo appeared in a commercial for Priceline.com, in which she portrayed herself "connecting" with the late Priceline Negotiator character previously played by William Shatner. However, this commercial has sparked controversy, since the commercial appears to make light of the Native American belief of smudging. JREF President DJ Grothe released a press release calling out Priceline.com, stating, "It is difficult to watch the show and not feel heartbroken for those who are desperate to hear from the departed... and even more so if they are being manipulated by a charlatan." Grothe urges Priceline.com to "invite... your new representative" to take the James Randi Million Dollar challenge and prove her credentials.