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Wednesday, May 23, 2018
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Otto: Tampa might be on way to become Celebrityville

So you want to be a star and can't believe Hollywood hasn't "discovered" you yet?

You say everyone has always said you have an uncanny resemblance to Johnny Depp or maybe Sandra Bullock (but not both)?

Well, play your cards right, kiss up to me, and I might just be in a position to get your name in lights.

That's right. An email from "Clint" came in today.

"I produce and develop television in New York," he says. "We make shows that run the gamut from the 'This American Life' show to 'Mob Wives.'

"I'm writing because we're currently casting for a TV series, and we're looking in the Tampa area for possible characters. Specifically, we're looking for local wealthy types with big personalities - the kind of people who would shine on TV and enjoy being on TV. I know you've covered the Tampa area for decades, and I'm wondering if you have any idea of people who might fill the bill. I'm aware that upper-crust Tampa society is, like most of high society, resistant to participating in reality TV. ... If you can think of anyone who might be good for this sort of thing, I'd love to chat about it. Thanks, Clint."

Let's see: wealthy types with big personalities who would shine on TV. Well, gee, we've already given the world Hulk Hogan.

George "The Boss" Steinbrenner would have been great, but he's gone. Maybe we could offer up one of the Gonzmarts. Casey and Richard must be loaded, with Columbia restaurants across the state, plus they have big personalities to match.

And there's always radio legend Jack Harris. He must have made a bundle over the years selling everything there is to sell with that distinctive voice that could only belong to the Cracker Jack jock Jack.

Other than that, I think we have a dearth of the ones Clint is looking for. As for "upper-crust Tampa society," I'm not even sure who those people are. I mean, if "upper crust" means money, we have a few ball players who sit in the dugout spitting a lot and a few others who dress up like pirates once a year and throw beads to the poor, but that's about it.

Anyhow, if you think the world is waiting for you to be discovered, drop me a line and tell me why. I might pass it on to Clint, but I'll definitely pass along my favorites to the rest of you.

Talk about becoming Celebrityville: Not only are TV producers hunting around Tampa for talent, the news broke over the weekend that we have been selected as the first American city to host the "Bollywood Oscars," best known as The International Indian Film Academy award, to be held next June.

Before you ask "Why in the world would they come to Tampa?" just know the event is expected to generate 24,000 hotel room nights and have an $11 million economic impact.

That's the prediction from our tourist people at Visit Tampa Bay.

If they are right, then I don't care if every theater runs Indian movies for a week and that our tourist organization has given up calling us Tampa and going with Tampa Bay. Hooray for Bollywood!

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