HOLLYWOOD, CA—The psychic phone-service industry is reeling following Monday's announcement by actor Gary Coleman that the Psychic Friends Network is by far the best psychic advisement service available—the first-ever incontrovertible proof of the service's superiority over its competitors.
"When someone told me to try one of those other psychic clubs, I said, 'What are you talking about?'" Coleman said in a nationally televised announcement which aired at 3 a.m. on CBS. "There's only one true psychic phone service: The Psychic Friends Network."
Coleman, who portrayed Arnold Jackson on TV's Diff'rent Strokes from 1978 to 1985, had until Monday remained silent on the subject of which service offers the best psychic advice. The long-awaited endorsement has sent shockwaves through the $2 billion psychic industry.
"Until now, it has not been clear which psychic phone service is truly the best," said professor Clement Dewey of Princeton University. "But now that Gary Coleman has formally endorsed the Psychic Friends Network, this changes everything. Those 'imitation' psychic lines are through. The truth has come out, and we are all the better for it."
PFN celebrity spokesperson and internationally renowned recording star Dionne Warwick was pleased with the Coleman announcement.
"We have always been proud of our hard-working team of master psychics," Warwick said. "But now, after receiving Mr. Coleman's seal of approval, we finally have undeniable proof that we are the only legitimate psychic service."
Top PFN psychic Linda Georgian agreed, saying, "All it takes is a telephone and an open mind. Call now for your free 15-minute reading!"
In the wake of Monday's endorsement, millions of Americans who postponed choosing a psychic phone service until Coleman went public with a preference are now seeking advice from PFN's staff of expert counselors.
"I presumed that those psychic lines were all phony," said Gail Saunders of Escondido, CA. "Now, with Mr. Coleman's endorsement, the universe seems a very different place. There are forces out there that we don't understand—forces we cannot confront alone. And I'd like to thank Gary for making me understand that."
Added Saunders: "Will you excuse me? I have to go call my psychic. The last time we spoke, I asked her about marriage, and she said she saw a tall, dark, handsome millionaire on the horizon. That's exactly what I wanted to hear!"
In a press statement responding to Coleman's announcement, longtime skeptic and debunker of the paranormal James "The Amazing" Randi said: "I wish to formally retract all of my past statements which implied that psychic phenomena were dubious or false. Clearly, the psychic service which can convince Gary Coleman of its validity is one to be respected, even feared. I pray that they will forgive a foolish old man who spoke without thinking."
According to Advertising Age managing editor George Lysham, Coleman has long been considered infallible among sitcom veterans, his views second only to those of famed Glad Trash Bags pitchman Tom Bosley.
"Remember, Coleman was not just the star of eight seasons of Diff'rent Strokes," Lysham said. "We're talking about the star of The Kid With The Broken Halo and that movie where he slept in the locker at the bus station. His opinions are not to be dismissed lightly."
As a result of the Coleman endorsement, celebrity endorsers of other psychic phone lines are scrambling to reorganize their lives. Ted Lange and Elke Sommer of Kenny Kingston's Psychic Hotline have publicly renounced Kingston, and Psychic Encounters spokespersons Nichelle Nichols and Lady Sunshine have reportedly gone into hiding.
Future infomercials for PFN will replace the disclaimer, "For entertainment purposes only," with the statement, "Everything claimed by PFN psychics is guaranteed 100 percent true by authority of Gary Coleman, former television star and world-renowned psychic verification expert."