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October 31, 2014

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What’s the value of ‘Vegas Family Values?’ David Saxe is about to find out

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David Saxe, shown standing sternly at Saxe Theater.

David Saxe Reality TV Show

David Saxe, shown standing sternly at Saxe Theater. Launch slideshow »

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  • Producer David Saxe
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  • Jubilee, David Saxe and Tiger Martina
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  • Melinda First Lady of Magic
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David Saxe is forever encircled by enough material to fill several reality TV shows.

We’ll start with the one we know the most about.

Saxe is the focal point of a project tentatively titled “Vegas Family Values,” which centers on Saxe and his Las Vegas-entrenched entertainment clan. As the overlord of David Saxe Productions and the son of a storied Las Vegas sax man and bandleader (Richard) and “Folies Bergere” dancer (Bonnie), Saxe is a natural subject for a reality TV show focused on Vegas.

That is precisely what has been unfolding for nearly a year behind the curtains and backstage at Saxe’s empire at V Theater and Saxe Theater at Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood, where he currently produces or promotes 15 shows.

For several months, chatter about this project has spun around V Theater with the velocity of the Skating Aratas’ swirling specialty act. But interest in the show intensified over the weekend as “Sin City Rules” was pulled from TLC’s programming schedule (you can still find it online, if you find the time), and those familiar with the Saxe show read with great interest coverage of the early-in-production sizzle reel being recorded by five Vegas headliners: Drag icon Frank Marino of “Divas Las Vegas,” wide-ranging impressionist Gordie Brown of Golden Nugget, frenetic frontman Chris Phillips of Zowie Bowie, magician Murray Sawchuck of Laugh Factory at Tropicana and hot-selling hypnotist Marc Savard of Saxe’s own V Theater.

By comparison, the Saxe project is further along than that of the proposed headliners’ show, but not yet close to where “Sin City Rules” landed. Say what you want about that ill-fated TLC show (no, really, say it, don’t hold back), “SCR” was actually bought by a national cable network and made it to the air. That alone is an achievement. The Saxe project has reportedly drawn strong interest from three cable outfits. You’ve likely heard of all of them, and every one targets a female demographic, but Saxe has not signed a deal to put the series on the air. Yet.

Thus far, two sizzle reels of “Vegas Family Values” have been finished. The Saxe crew is described as “The First Family of Vegas,” and these segments are heavy with terse conversations between Saxe and his older sister Melinda First Lady of Magic, one of the more famous magicians in the country before taking a decade off in 2002 to start a family. Saxe began his career as producer with his sister’s production at Bourbon Street hotel-casino when he was a teenager, but in her absence from the stage, Saxe rose to prominence as one of the city’s most successful entertainment figures.

Melinda returned to Saxe’s fortress about two years ago. She is currently a featured performer in “V – The Ultimate Variety Show” sharing the stage with the above-referenced Skating Aratas, comedian/juggler/host Wally Eastwood and tap-dancing twins Sean and John. But Melinda wants a show of her own -- and this is a fact, she does want to be featured independently once again -- and confronts David about returning her to headline status.

Melinda also informs David that she has been offered a job by Cirque du Soleil (gasp!), a company Saxe can’t stand, though that piece of information has never been verified.

Nonetheless, it’s startling to hear the language these two siblings use in the show, even bleeped, as Melinda’s family-friendly act (she invites a child to the stage, even) and the entire “V” variety operation draws kids by the dozens.

But in the reel, it’s Melinda getting all up in David’s face and saying, “I want my own effing show!” And David responding with, “I’m effing firing you!”

Ease up, kids!

Also featured prominently are David’s older sister, Suzie; his orthodontist wife Alana (who “married into this mess”); and choreographer (and “family referee”) Tiger Martina. David says he is the “P.T. Barnum of this town,” which is not too far a stretch as he nimbly swaps blows and barbs with such heavyweights as Cirque and BASE Entertainment for ticket-buyers on the Strip.

The producers bring significant experience and credibility to the project. Backing the project is P&L Media, specifically multiple-Emmy Award winners Peter Brennan (who masterminded the courtroom shows “A Current Affair,” “Judge Judy,” “Judge Joe Brown” and “Judge Gunn”) and TV and film producer Justin Page. Also deeply involved in the project is executive producer Lisa Lew and Burt Kearns, who won the 2009 Las Vegas Film Festival Golden Ace Award for “The Seventh Python,” a documentary about the “seventh” member of the Monty Python comedy troupe, Neil Innes.

Of course, there seem innumerable ideas for reality TV shows wafting around VegasVille. We’re still waiting to see if anyone will pick up the pilot former Mayor Oscar Goodman recorded at the then-Las Vegas Hilton in November 2011 for his own set-in-Vegas courtroom series.

But, as is Saxe’s custom, the tireless producer is givin’ it a swing. Whether this act will find an audience is anyone’s guess.

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at Twitter.com/JohnnyKats. Also, follow “Kats With the Dish” at Twitter.com/KatsWiththeDish.

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