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His Reality? Hits at Home and in Hollywood

December 3, 2009 By:
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But what happens when they make others do just that? They get a reality series.

H-e-l-l-o, Omarosa!

And h-e-l-l-o, Bob Horowitz.

The Bucks stops here ... and begins here, too: Doylestown's Bob Horowitz has a commuter's commitment that extends beyond any SEPTA zone -- and his train of thought is more on schedule, too.

The Bucks County media entrepreneur doesn't claim to be Mark Burnett, king of reality TV, but he's brandishing his own brush fire of sure-fire hots: "The Singing Bee," formerly on NBC, now on CMT; "The Superstars"; "Double Exposure," soon to be clicking with the fashion photography world; and, yes, "Omarosa's Ultimate Merger," in which the erstwhile aggravating "Apprentice" wannabe attempts to hook up with a husband, set for TV One.

Call this "The Stinging Queen Bee."

Call it what you will, Horowitz answers to the call of success story. Since forming Juma Entertainment in 2005, the producer of "Tattoo's Highway" is one road warrior leaving his own imprint.

Indeed, the man who brought "Super Bowl's Greatest Commercials"(2008) to TV -- going goal-on-goal again for next year's -- may be the best self-advertisement of all on being big in the business while keeping kin at the top rung back home.

We talk as he bucks the holiday traffic back to Doylestown, where his family members are his biggest fans -- and constructive critics.

"My wife Jackie is a very smart woman," he says of his wise choice for hometown adviser. "She's follows the Juma business."

What follows in April -- when Omarosa gloms onto the man of her choice -- may be his biggest challenge. Forget a lyric as they do in "The Singing Bee," in which contestants ad lib lyrics to songs they thought they knew perfectly? Omarosa doesn't forget anything!

And who can forget her, double-dealing in that distinctive devilish way. "She's a great character," insists Horowitz.

Or is it caricature? Whatever one thinks, her impression has lasted long enough that the onetime "Apprentice" hopeful now "Ultimate Merger" unites her with another star of roguish charm: Donald Trump, who will be making the occasional appearance.

"I want viewers at home to connect with a female" protagonist, says Horowitz.

But ... Omarosa? Aren't they likely to get electrocuted if they plug into her peccadilloes?

"I want people to root for her; think she's become more likeable," he says, adding that people enjoy it when they can watch ... "sharks mate."

Marriage as merger? "All the contestants have to sign a pre-nup," he notes.

Horowitz is on solid ground at home, about to light the Chanukah candles in a week even as he fires up yet another reality series, and continues his oldie but goodie "Deer Valley Celebrity Skifest."

No slippery-slope here; he can mix home and hits seamlessly. Last time we talked, I asked if "Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel" would be dropped into the series for contestants to try their memories at.

"Yes," comes the answer as the series returns to CMT for a new year. "I have a little ... " dreadlocks? That could be the spin on this season.

Not that they would get it wrong in a country where they should know better: Of the 33 nations running their own version of the Horowitz hit is Israel, where "contestants," he says kiddingly, "get into more arguments."

No argument here about that series' viability, but its vocal appeal goes way beyond must-sing TV; Horowitz has a global glut of possibilities awaiting him, including making an iPhone applications available and setting up "Singing Bee" bars in Nashville, where the country song "Romania" may or may not be on the agenda.

That may be a stretch, but this isn't: No karaoke king himself, Horowitz concedes that when it comes to the seventh inning at Phillies games, "I never get the lyrics right to 'Take Me Out to the Ball Game.'"

But he's game for anything; how about a show switching religions for the holidays?

When the idea is jokingly offered that maybe a reality series in which Christian and Jewish families change places at Chanukah/Christmas time would be a holy treat, he chuckles then stops.

Did he forget the rest of the words?

"You know," Horowitz answers with a ho-ho-oy in his voice, "there may be something there."

 

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