Doylestown’s Reality Doyen


Is Bob Horowitz Doylestown's answer to Mr. Roarke?

The plane … the plane? Better make it the R5.

Nobody's doing fantasy better than Bucks County real-world favorite Horowitz.

But no one man's a fantasy island, and Horowitz is the Jewish juggernaut at the head of Juma, a company that has made reality worth waiting for.

Fulfilling his fantasies these days means becoming one of the prince of players of reality TV. Doylestown's reality doyen Horowitz has his own Final Four going at once: "The Singing Bee," on CMT, which waxes lyrical about songs that leave contestants speechless; "Double Exposure," a fashionably hip hit about the haute couture photogs Markus and Indrani, on Bravo; "Donald J. Trump Presents: The Ultimate Merger," a dating challenge with Omarossa as bristling bait that would evoke an "oy" even from Yente if she got TV One in Anatevka; and "Ochocinco: The Ultimate Catch," playing catch up with the others, which all debuted their seasons in June.

Eight will get you five? "Ochocinco," starring football wide receiver Chad Ochocinco, tackles the dating game anew on VH1 on July 11.

Any wonder Horowitz is having a super bowl party of a time? Call it what you will — "reality, nonscripted, docusoap," as he does — the industry is calling him successful. "I aggressively comb the Internet for characters who jump off the screen," says Horowitz.

In "Ochocinco," he's found one who does it in five- and 10-yard gulps.

"It all makes for good TV."

Not all, not every time. An inveterate Eagles fan, Horowitz concedes he did talk to "Team DeSean" about nailing widely respected receiver deSean Jackson for a role, but "they felt it wasn't right for him."

What is right for Horowitz is remaining a Doylestown loyalist, still active in the area's Jewish community "and still commuting."

When he gets home, he finds the welcome mat put out for him by a family that includes his closest advisor — wife Jackie — as well as his kids, "who I'm always bouncing ideas off of."

Follow the bouncing ball … with a football hero as his latest gamer, it all seems to be bouncing his way. "Outlandish stuff is self-evident," says Horowitz, who claims he refuses to get involved with "over-the-top" projects that topple common sense.

He sees how certain shows push the envelope — "Jersey Shore" sure has its own zip code, he concedes — but he doesn't want to be there when the envelope pushes back.

Horowitz himself can't be defined by one network; his shows run the cable gamut. He wants his … VH1. "Sunday night is a big female audience night for VH1, and 'Ochocinco' will have a big appeal."

Is he the Jewish Simon Fuller? He laughs at the notion. It's like talking about the industry's Sandy Koufax, he says of the TV "American idol" creator, "and I'm pitching for Trenton."

Well, what Trenton makes, the world takes … And Horowitz's latest take on the field is giving audiences what he calls an "anti-Partridge family." C'mon, get unhappy? "It's a real family band," and watching them battle each other at work may make TV really come unplugged.

Horowitz has certainly got game for international invasions of his must-scene TV. Get out the calamine lotion; "The Singing Bee" has already pierced Israeli TV, a natural for the land of milk and … honey.

And Israel is into payback for America. "And we're in the final stages in getting the rights to an Israeli game show, adapting it for American audiences; we're putting the finishing touches on the contract."

Bring up a touchy subject and Horowitz doesn't demur. Sure, friends and family always pitch him with ideas, but he learned once — and it only took one time — not to toy with mother's nature.

Make that mother-in-law. He had to reject one of her suggestions. "With a Jewish mother-in-law, you have to be careful."

It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken, the slogan goes, but can he take a cold shoulder? "It was tough to tell my mother-in-law that [her idea] wouldn't work," which, when you think of it, has all the trappings of a reality show all its own. 



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