weather icon Clear

Fox series ‘Labor of Love’ was born in Las Vegas

Updated May 26, 2020 - 9:44 am

The Fox series “Labor of Love” should, um, pacify TV viewers’ continuing thirst for dating game shows.

Naturally, the concept was conceived in Las Vegas.

The father of this new series is Vegas producer (or, in this case, re-producer) Marklen Kennedy, who brought “Gigolos” to Showtime from 2011-2016. Kennedy hosted a small viewing party Thursday night for the launch of “Labor,” in which 15 gentlemen compete for the opportunity to start a family with a 41-year-old divorcee.

Her name is Kristy Katzmann. No relation, but she’s a catch. Kristin Davis of “Sex & the City” is the show’s host, narrator and sorta counselor.

For the premiere party, Kennedy invited his friend (and recent Kats! column bicycling partner) Billy F. Gibbons of ZZ Top. Kennedy introduced Gibbons to his friend and guest Mark Baker, saying, “This is my friend, John. He’s a lookalike for Billy Gibbons.”

Baker runs the graphics company Color Reflections. His wife, Desirae, is with Orange Realty Group and was the Realtor for Billy and his wife, Gilligan Stillwater Gibbons, as they bought their Rancho Circle home.

Baker looked at the person who is obviously Billy Gibbons and said, “You look just like Billy Gibbons.”

“I get that all the time,” said Gibbons, now playing the role of “John.”

This went on most of the night, with Baker referring to Gibbons as “John,” as in, “John, can I get you a drink?” By the end of the night he finally learned that John was actually Gibbons.

“I was super confused,” Baker said.

As for the show, Fox has described it as a “parody” in its YouTube trailer. Whatever the case, the show presented a scene in which all 15 contestants were required to produce semen samples in a fertility trailer. The guys all proved to be impressive specimens.

The total sperm count of each guy was measured and, yes, a sperm champ was announced. Kennedy’s group busted up at that scene.

An early pick from here to win Kristy’s heart is Jason, a flooring business owner from Charlotte, North Carolina. Jason has two dispositions: charming and drunk. But I’d bet he can pick Billy Gibbons out of a lineup, no problem.

Buckin’ out stock

The upcoming PBR Monster Energy Challenge at South Point Arena and Equestrian Center will return rodeo’s most popular event to Las Vegas.

More relevant, the series will also help return the city to the live-event TV format. The Professional Bull Riders competition airs Fridays and Saturdays, with highlight broadcasts Sundays, from June 5-28 on CBS Sports Network.

Every event features three “games,” each showcasing a head-to-head matchup of three riders from one team against three riders from another on the sport’s top bulls.

These are nonticketed events, with the Equestrian Center in effect serving as a large TV studio. The series caps at the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, July 10-12. Those are ticketed events. The PBR promises it will adhere to all safety protocols.

PBR has already held three “closed”events — in Oklahoma. This includes the Unleash the Beast event in Guthrie on April 25. That one had initially been scheduled for the South Point.

Following the PBR’s activity in Oklahoma, South Point General Manager Ryan Growney worked for two months with resort owner and legend Michael Gaughan and arena director Steve Stallworth to land the TV segments in Las Vegas.

“This is a good start of a model that can work to get Las Vegas back on television,” Growney says. “Have you seen the Strip empty? We need to change that. This is going to lead to some action to take the town in the right direction, do it successfully, and show what an event will look like in this new world.”

The “closed” PBR concept should boost the UFC’s position to hold its no-fan fight cards in Las Vegas. The Nevada Athletic Commission is meeting Wednesday to review options to hold UFC events at its Apex Facility in southwest Las Vegas. The next event is approaching fast, on Saturday. All three of the UFC’s no-ticket events have been a marketing boon to Jacksonville, Florida.

But the stage for the Las Vegas-based UFC should rightfully be Las Vegas.

“I can’t speak directly to UFC, but I can say we’re going to be the guinea pig for a lot of these events,” Growney says. “I 100 percent know that if they can do it in Oklahoma, or Florida, we can do it here, with that Las Vegas sex appeal.”

Mob scene on hold

The Mob Museum is plotting a return for Sunday, though live music and grooving will have to wait. The downtown Las Vegas attraction won’t present live entertainment in its Underground tavern and music club when it reopens.

But the singers and players in Great Gatsby garb will be back, eventually.

Mob Museum President and CEO Jonathan Ullman said Saturday that performances in the downstairs speakeasy, and events in the adjacent Distillery, are in the attraction’s long-term forecast. The Museum itself is planning to reopen next week conditional on the state setting aside restrictions for gatherings in such nonessential public spaces.

“We want to bring back music and events, but we have to be aware that having three or four musicians performing requires a lot of thought and planning,” Ullman said. “It changes the setup significantly. But we know people like the entertainment, and they like the events we’ve had in the Distillery, too.”

The Mob Museum has been on point with jazz lineups rotating in the cozy speakeasy, and the Distillery has offered the Bootlegger Boogie, where guests have learned such period dances as the Charleston and Balboa. Those lessons have been staged monthly, on Mondays.

The Balboa swing dance, especially, is an aggressive violation of social distancing. Maybe that’s a measure of when we are fully clear of COVID-19: We can Balboa again in safety in the basement of The Mob Museum.

A new Eldo haunt

El Dorado Cantina at Tivoli Village has reopened its dining room and patio. The restaurant had just debuted in January and was open 24 hours before COVID-19 forced takeout and delivery only. But the place was doing impressive (if socially distant) business Sunday night. Try the flan, really.

Look for some expansion action at Tivoli, too. The Lounge at El Dorado is set to open in the two-story structure next to the restaurant that was formerly the Hamptons’ space. The Lounge and restaurant will share the courtyard.

The opening is planned for late summer or early fall, with the menu, cocktail program and entertainment concepts to be announced. Some key staffers from Clique Hospitality and Hakasaan Group leading the operations team. Count me intrigued.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Entertainment Videos
'In the Dark' at the Las Vegas Natural History Museum - Video
Laurie Thomas, controller for the Las Vegas Natural History Museum, discusses the new exhibit, "In the Dark," in Las Vegas on Thursday, July 9, 2020. (Elizabeth Page Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Summertime Dole Whip Cocktails
Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer at The Venetian has two new Dole Whip cocktails. The Golden Tiki, which offers a line of Dole Whip cocktails, is reopening Wednesday.
Lin-Manuel Miranda says 'Hamilton' criticism is 'fair game'
Lin-Manuel Miranda has responded to people claiming he presented an idealized version of the Founding Fathers. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Charlie Daniels, 'Devil Went Down to Georgia' singer, dead at 83 - Video
Charlie Daniels, the country music star, was struck by a hemorrhagic stroke in Hermitage, Tennessee. His death was confirmed on Monday. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jennifer Romas takes her 'Sexxy The Show' to Dreamland Drive-In - Video
Jennifer Romas, producer, director, choreographer and star “Sexxy The Show" at Westgate took her show to Dreamland Drive-In at FreshWata Studios in Las Vegas. The show, which is currently dark at the Westgate, is a benefit for charities Golden Rainbow of Southern Nevada, The Actors Fund and Pawtastic Friends. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Wynn Las Vegas’ ‘re-imagined’ buffet - VIDEO
On June 18, The Buffet at Wynn reopened to customers with what the resort called “a re-imagined all-you-can-eat concept that combines the abundance of the traditional buffet with the benefits of a full-service restaurant.” (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jimmy Kimmel issues public apology for past blackface sketches - Video
On Tuesday, late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel took to Twitter to apologize for his blackface impression of NBA star Karl Malone. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kurt Cobain's MTV Unplugged guitar sold for record-breaking $6M - Video
The 1959 Martin D-18E, which was often out of tune, was expected to fetch between $1million and $2 million. The iconic guitar was sold during the online 'Music Icons' sale hosted by Julien's Auctions over the weekend. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Joel Schumacher, director of 'Lost Boys' and Batman films, dead at 80 - Video
Schumacher died in New York City after battling cancer for a year. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
'We are not a monolith' - Video
Lance Smith, a multidisciplinary artist, talks about how black artists should be acknowledged for their work and not tokenized or only have their work connected to trauma. "Blackness, we are not a monolith, we deserve to live and create in a world that respects us as we are." (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Amid protests and pandemic, black artists view works as means to empathy, healing - Video
Erica Vital-Lazare is an artist, writer, sometimes activist and professor at the College of Southern Nevada. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
PodKats! with Ross Mollison
On this edition of PodKats! Review-Journal columnist John Katsilometes is joined by the founder of Spiegelworld and producer of Las Vegas Strip shows such as "Absinthe," and "Opium," Ross Mollison.
Paramount pulls 'Cops' series in wake of protests - Video
Paramount Network recently confirmed their decision to cancel the long-running reality show, "Cops." (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Restaurants add COVID-19 surcharge - Video
Some Las Vegas Strip restaurants are adding a COVID-19 surcharge to their bills to help offset the additional costs of reopening. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kats hangs at Mayfair Supper Club as Bellagio reopens
Las Vegas Review-Journal man-about-town columnist John Katsilometes visits The Mayfair Supper Club at the Bellagio on the Strip in Las Vegas on the first night after reopening Thursday, June 4, 2020. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas performers adapt to pandemic restrictions - Video
The coronavirus pandemic has forced creative people in Las Vegas, a city that thrives on live performance, to adapt to new or changed ways to entertain. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas woman brings Blue Angel to life - Video
When Las Vegas shut down during the coronavirus pandemic, Victoria Hogan created the Blue Angel costume and performance, emulating the statue locals know and love in order to connect with others in a time when connection isn’t as possible. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
‘Hamilton’ postponed as Smith Center remains dark indefinitely - VIDEO
The hit musical 'Hamilton' was supposed to run from September through October at The Smith Center’s Reynolds Hall has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
ZZ Top frontman Billy Gibbons rides a bicycle on the Strip with Kats
Las Vegas resident and ZZ Top frontman Billy Gibbons rides down the Strip with his wife Gilligan Stillwater GIbbons and Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist John Katsilometes Wednesday, May 20, 2020. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
ZZ Top frontman Billy Gibbons rides a bicycle on the Las Vegas Strip with Kats - Video
Las Vegas resident and ZZ Top frontman Billy Gibbons rides down the Strip with his wife, Gilligan Stillwater Gibbons, and Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist John Katsilometes on Wednesday, May 20, 2020. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Ex-WWE star Shad Gaspard found dead on beach - Video
Shad Gaspard, 39, the former WWE wrestler, was found dead Wednesday morning on the shoreline of Venice Beach in California. Gaspard went missing over the weekend. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Buffets won’t reopen soon, but they may return eventually - VIDEO
In a Tuesday earnings call, Frank Fertitta III, CEO of Station Casinos parent company Red Rock Resorts, said buffets won’t be among the amenities included in the early stages of the resorts’ reopenings. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
'Hamilton' to debut on Disney+ in July - Video
The film version of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s popular musical was originally set for theatrical release in October. The musical’s director, Tommy Kail, shot three live performances featuring the original Broadway cast. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Little Richard dead at 87 - VIDEO
Little Richard, the pioneer and rock 'n' roll originator, died on Saturday, May 9. His son, Danny Penniman, confirmed the news but the cause of death is unknown. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jerry Stiller, actor and comedian, dies at 92 - VIDEO
Jerry Stiller's son, actor and director Ben Stiller, announced his father's death via Twitter. Jerry Stiller became widely known with a recurring role on "Seinfeld" as Frank Costanza, George's hot-headed father. He also starred on "King of Queens." (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Wolfgang Puck's Players Locker opens in Downtown Summerlin along with others - VIDEO
Under the governor's orders a few restaurants were able to open their dining rooms in Downtown Summerlin Saturday, May 9. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nicolas Cage to portray Joe Exotic in ‘Tiger King’ TV adaption - VIDEO
Nicolas Cage is headed to television to take on the role of Joe Exotic, the iconic character from the Netflix docuseries "Tiger King." (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Quarantined! 'The Ghost Adventures' miniseries by Zak Bagans - VIDEO
The four-part miniseries “Ghost Adventures: Quarantine” by Zak Bagans will debut in June on the Travel Channel. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
10 facts about Cinco de Mayo - VIDEO
The holiday celebrates the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Mexico began the holiday in 1862, but does not recognize it nationally anymore. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kristin Cavallari has already filed for divorce - VIDEO
Kristin Cavallari, the "Very Cavallari" star, announced she and her husband, former NFL quarterback Jay Cutler, have separated after seven years of marriage and 10 years together. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Cirque lenders fighting company’s restart plan

According to reports, if Cirque lenders’ effort is turned back, the group would ask to replace Lamarre as Cirque’s CEO and as a board member, along with the rest of the board.