Rick Harrison is a career wheeler-dealer, but even the creator of “Pawn Stars” couldn’t sell a show set at the White House.
It wasn’t for lack of trying. Harrison approached Donald Trump administration officials about two years ago with his novel idea to focus on the lives of White House workers for a documentary series to air on cable TV.
“Pawn Stars,” of course, has been a hit for the History channel since launching in 2009 from Gold & Silver Pawn in Las Vegas.
“I wanted to talk to the gardeners, the housekeepers, the curator of all the historical items around the White House,” Harrison said in a phone chat Thursday. “I wanted to talk to the people you never see, the blue-collar people who actually maintain the White House and work there. I wanted the calligraphers to be known — did you know there are four calligraphers in the White House? I wanted to know, why do we need four calligraphers?”
Maybe because five is a little excessive?
The concept never made it past that meeting, which resulted in radio silence from the White House. Harrison gave up on the project about a year ago.
As has been chronicled in the book “Sinking In The Swamp: How Trump’s Minion and Misfits Poisoned Washington,” Harrison pitched this idea in mid-2018 to then-White House Director of Strategic Communications Mercedes Schlapp, former White House communications aide Cliff Sims and influential lobbyist and former South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Van Hipp.
Harrison outlined his concept of the show, and actually sought to interview the president for each episode.
“I was reaching for the stars, yes,” Harrison said. “I would loved to have been able to catch him, even as he was walking through the White House, and have him be part of it.”
Harrison is a Trump supporter who attend the president’s inauguration ceremony and has spoken at the past two Conservative Political Action Conferences (CPAC). Harrison is again a featured CPAC speaker at this year’s event, running Feb. 26-29 at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in Fort Washington, Maryland.
“Pawn Stars” is due to be renewed for its 17th season, with taping commencing in September. But Harrison still says the White House idea was solid, saying, “That’s a show I would watch.”
HRH guitar notes
The neon-illuminated, Fender guitar at the entrance of the now-closed Hard Rock Hotel will be preserved, says HRH and Virgin Hotels Las Vegas president and CEO Richard “Boz” Bosworth. “We will take it down, in sections,” Bosworth said Wednesday. “It will not be destroyed.”
What to do with the disassembled guitar remains undecided. It won’t be displayed at the Neon Museum — it already showcases the other Hard Rock guitar, from the Hard Rock Cafe. But Bosworth’s team has several months to decide, as the hotel has begun its full-scale renovation for a targeted November re-opening.
Bosworth also said about 200 of the hotel’s 700 employees still on the clock are working at any given time, cleaning and packing and prepping for the changeover. The Hard Rock’s final day of operations, Feb. 3, was also the 61st anniversary of “The Day The Music Died,” though the coincidence was not mentioned (or even noticed) during the hotel’s final party.
But as Bosworth said, the hotel’s house music — from such rock artists as Led Zeppelin, AC/DC and Queen — continues to play for employees across the open casino floor. As Bosworth says, “The Hard Rock’s gone, but the music didn’t die.”
Cool Hang Alert
A first CHA mention for Mayfair Supper Club at Bellagio. At 11 p.m. Saturday, Jen Romas and the cast of “Sexxy” at Westgate Las Vegas wades in for a pop-up performance at “Mayfair After Dark.” The club is inviting performers and up to 100 or so guests to hit the club and enjoy the late-night party, which runs until 3 a.m.
MGM Resorts International President of Nightlife Sean Christie, and Kim Willecke and Dennis Jauch of No Ceilings Entertainment, are linking the club’s chic amenities to the Las Vegas show community. The late-night sessions include additional burlesque-style and aerial entertainers. And, in April, Mayfair is advancing its efforts to lure locals with a Thursday night industry hang. Around here, we appreciate industry, and also Romas’s show, a lot.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.