Las Vegas exec spotlights real life of gigolos

After a decade as a Las Vegas nightclub executive, Marklen Kennedy is returning to his Hollywood roots as the creator of a reality show featuring Sin City gigolos.

Kennedy, who helped open clubs Light, Jet and Tao Beach, said the “Entourage”-style show with real-life gigolos will air on Showtime early next year.

He’ll be co-executive producer with veteran actor Richard Grieco, who got his big break in the 1980s TV cop series “21 Jump Street,” starring Johnny Depp and Holly Robinson Peete.

Kennedy, a former doorman at Bar Marmont on Sunset Boulevard, gave Hollywood a shot, landing small roles in about 20 TV shows and movies, including “Heaven or Vegas” with Grieco and Yasmine Bleeth.

Kennedy’s career break came when Bar Marmont owner/hotelier Andre Balazs got him into the nightclub business. That led to a job in the Hamptons with Andrew Sasson, who built Light Group into a night-life powerhouse in Las Vegas.

After eight years with Light Group, Kennedy moved to Tao Group about two years ago as director of Tao Beach at The Venetian.

But the idea of putting together reality shows kept pulling Kennedy that direction, and he took the leap.

He has a second Las Vegas-centric reality show on the drawing board and a book about his life in Las Vegas.

New challenges have been in his blood since transferring from the University of Oklahoma football program to Southern Methodist University in his hometown, Dallas.

“It was a David and Goliath story, and a bunch of us wanted to fight to get the pride back,” he said after SMU’s football program was disbanded in 1987 following major violations.

Kennedy, a tight end and punter, takes pride in being part of the comeback under head coach Forrest Gregg.

“They said it would take five years for us to win a game. We beat Connecticut in our second game,” said Kennedy, who is returning to the SMU campus for Thursday’s Armed Forces Bowl match against Army.

ESPN chronicled SMU’s fall and rise this month in “Pony Excess,” a look back that re-airs Jan. 2.

THE SCENE AND HEARD

Sacre bleu! A trip to the ladies room at the Paris Las Vegas is a little racier these days, thanks to the pickup lines in French being piped in instead of background music. Among them, according to a spy: “That’s a hot dress. It will look even hotter on the floor of my room” and “Your mother must have been a baker … you have great buns.” …

Bob Kostelecky, former owner of the Port Tack on West Sahara, died of cancer last week in California.

SIGHTINGS

Star chef Jose Andres, tweeting Monday: “With my friends Ferran Adria, Pierre Gagnaire and Juan Mari Arzak @Cosmopolitan_LV. Can not be more Culinary Stars under a roof.” Adria is the force behind the El Bulli, one of the most decorated restaurants in the world; Gagnaire is one of the founding fathers of molecular gastronomy; Arzak transformed Restaurante Arzak in San Sebastian, Spain, into one of the most popular food destinations in the world; and fellow Spaniard Andres, who has two restaurants planned for The Cosmopolitan, is considered the pioneer of tapas, small plates, in the United States. Adria has been courted by Las Vegas hotels for years. El Bulli is closing in 2012. …

Local illusionist Dan Sperry, who performed on season 5 of “America’s Got Talent,” chatting backstage with Jerry Seinfeld and Mario Joyner after Seinfeld’s show Sunday at Caesars Palace.

THE PUNCH LINE

“Hand out thermal turbans to cabdrivers.” — From David Letterman’s Top Ten Things to Do in New York During a Blizzard

Norm Clarke can be reached at (702) 383-0244 or norm@reviewjournal.com. Find additional sightings and more online at www.normclarke.com.

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