Sunday, January 21, 2018
TV and Media

What MTV's 'Siesta Key' has to do with 1-800-Ask-Gary

SIESTA KEY — Nestled along the No. 1 beach in America, between ramshackle beach huts and vacation cabins, is an imposing beige marble mansion.

It's shielded by towering green hedges, cut off from everyday patrons of Siesta Key. But for one day in June, several befuddled members of the press were invited to step inside the house, owned by Dr. Gary Kompothecras.

Yes, that Dr. Gary, the wealthy chiropractor of Physicians Group LLC and 1-800-Ask-Gary fame. Kompothecras, 57, is the mastermind behind a new MTV reality series, Siesta Key, debuting this month.

He even has executive producer credits, he said. His son, Alex Kompothecras, 22, is one of the tanned, privileged young stars of the show. And it was his dad, Alex said, who pitched turning his friends' lives into a watchable drama.

"My dad had some buddies come to town, and I took them out fishing," Alex said. "They thought our lifestyle was pretty unique. I kept hearing, 'You need to do a show.' Then my dad called a small production company to help do the pilot."

Sarasota County Film Commission director Jeanne Corcoran told the Times the agency helped with production more than a year and a half ago when the pilot was being shot. She called the reality series "unscripted or partially scripted, with lots of attractive, energetic young people enjoying the lifestyle and culture of Siesta Key."

She also said the series isn't supposed to show anything more risque than a PG-13 movie.

According to MTV and all eight cast members, the show is a mix of popular former MTV shows Laguna Beach and The Hills, but set on the west coast of Florida on the 3½-square-mile stretch of barrier island along Sarasota County.

"My son has such a nice lifestyle. I didn't, growing up," Gary Kompothecras said. "Seeing how much fun him and his friends were having, it felt like a good idea to show a positive image of growing up."

You've probably heard of the Sarasota chiropractor and businessman in the 1-800-Ask-Gary commercials on the radio. The MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre also used to bear the name of his lawyer and medical referral service.

The property where MTV held its press day is one of many Gary Kompothecras owns. Inside the home, everything is either marble, bronze or gilded. There's a floor-to-ceiling clear glass window overlooking the beach and the pristine infinity pool. The gilded couches and furnishings shine even on a cloudy summer day.


MORE: 8 other TV shows that are set in Florida

'THE LITTLE COUPLE': Jen Arnold takes a job at a hospital in St. Pete

REVIEW: 'Claws' nail salon comedy set in seedy Florida


Gary Kompothecras, who said he is "in a few scenes," said he funded the pilot with his own money and sent it off to networks in Hollywood on a whim. He said it got rejected at first. Then, he said, about a year and a half later he got a call from MTV saying "it was something they were looking for."

Fast-forward to May, when MTV debuted a teaser trailer for Siesta Key during the MTV Movie and TV Awards. And last week, the network shared the show's premiere date of July 31 along with another teaser.

"From the Hills . . . to the Beach," the teaser showed alongside two members of the cast kissing.

Perhaps to ease worries of locals who fear their town getting a bad reputation, MTV and the entire cast have repeatedly said Siesta Key will be nothing like Jersey Shore. That show, which often featured drunken escapades and screaming in the street, took heat from New Jersey locals who thought it gave the Garden State a bad name.

"We don't all live in a big house together, and we aren't all drinking together every day," cast member Chloe Trautman, 21, said. "But we are on summer vacation, drinking and having a good time."

The series follows the eight young Floridians over the course of a Siesta Key summer. Some just graduated from college, some are on summer break, some are launching entertainment careers and some are just enjoying their youth.

"It's a group of us discovering what we want next in our lives," said Kelsey Owens, 20, the "new girl" in Siesta Key, having moved from St. Louis. Owens is a former model who left her catwalk career to move to Florida with her mom, who has multiple sclerosis. She's dating co-star Garrett Miller, 21, a personal trainer.

"I think it's going to really help Siesta Key," he said. "It shows people how nice it is here, and I'm grateful to have grown up with it."

Alex Kompothecras is the axis of the group. He graduated from the University of Tampa with a degree in entrepreneurship, which he hopes to turn into a law career or something to do with fishing.

"I think it's really going to put Siesta Key on the map," Alex said of the show.

Then there's Alex's cousin, Pauly Apostolides, 25, an aspiring rapper and "party monster" who called the series "a beautiful show with beautiful scenes." And there's another aspiring rapper, actor and model, Brandon Gomes, 22.

Rounding out the cast is Juliette Porter, the youngest at 19; and Madisson Hausburg, 23, who just graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas with a degree in engineering.

MTV released a full trailer for the series Tuesday, straight out of The Hills playbook.

It teases to "a summer like no other," in the "paradise" of Siesta Key, with shots of the picturesque seaside. And then, hordes of young people pour drinks, take selfies and jump in the infinity pool at Kompethecrases' mansion on the water.

Contact Chelsea Tatham at [email protected] Follow @chelseatatham.

MORE TELEVISION

'GLOW': The Netflix show about women wrestling you should be watching

KERMIT: The frog is getting a new voice for the first time in decades

'FRIENDS': Fan theory taking over Twitter

 

 
Comments

Sunday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballMiami at N.C. StatenoonCh. 44Rutgers at MichigannoonBig TenWomen: South Carolina at KentuckynoonESPNUWomen: Marquette at VillanovanoonFS1Women: George Washington at DaytonnoonCBSSNWomen: Virginia Tech at Virginia12:30 p.m.Fox S...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Saturday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballWomen: La Salle at Rhode Island11 a.m.CBSSNPurdue at IowanoonESPNFlorida State at Virginia TechnoonESPN2; 1010-AMWichita State at HoustonnoonESPNUVillanova at ConnecticutnoonCBSSt. John’s at GeorgetownnoonFS1Ohio State at Minne...
Published: 01/19/18
This week’s pop culture winners and losers

This week’s pop culture winners and losers

WinnersTimothée ChalametOscar darling Timothée Chalamet, whose breakout performances include Lady Bird and Call Me By Your Name, has pledged to donate his salary from his role in Woody Allen's A Rainy Day in New York to charities fighting s...
Published: 01/19/18
Review: ‘The Alienist’ is a grisly tale of murder, madness and class division

Review: ‘The Alienist’ is a grisly tale of murder, madness and class division

A doctor, an illustrator and a police department secretary are tasked by a young Theodore Roosevelt to conduct a secret investigation into a series of murders in 19th century New York City.The macabre tale is the focus of the new TNT series The Alien...
Published: 01/19/18
What to watch this weekend: ‘The Open House’ on Netflix, ‘The Alienist,’ ‘The Resident’

What to watch this weekend: ‘The Open House’ on Netflix, ‘The Alienist,’ ‘The Resident’

19th century serial killers: The AlienistIn the late 19th century, a doctor who studied and treated the mind (a modern-day criminal psychologist) was called an alienist because their patients were believed to be "alienated from their mind." Dr. Laszl...
Published: 01/19/18

Friday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYAutosNASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony8 p.m.NBCSNCollege basketballBuffalo at Western Michigan7 p.m.ESPNUSt. Bonaventure at Davidson7 p.m.ESPN2Canisius at Manhattan9 p.m.ESPNUIllinois at Wisconsin9 p.m.FS1College gymnasticsFlorida at Kentuc...
Published: 01/18/18
'American Pickers' is coming to Florida, and wants to pick through your stuff

'American Pickers' is coming to Florida, and wants to pick through your stuff

Know someone with a cool collection of antiques, collectibles or dust-covered old “junk” they’ve been holding onto for years in the hopes of someday cashing in? The time may be now. American Pickers, the A&E reality series fol...
Published: 01/18/18
Nancy Pelosi is going to be a guest judge on 'RuPaul's Drag Race All-Stars'

Nancy Pelosi is going to be a guest judge on 'RuPaul's Drag Race All-Stars'

She might be more familiar with democracy, but top House Democrat Nancy Pelosi is soon going to show her expertise on a certain kind of monarchy: The California congresswoman is slated to appear as a guest judge on RuPaul’s drag-queen competiti...
Published: 01/18/18
Voodoo Doughnut opening at Universal Orlando’s CityWalk this spring

Voodoo Doughnut opening at Universal Orlando’s CityWalk this spring

Get ready for Old Dirty Bastards, Grape Apes and Voodoo Doll rolls. Voodoo Doughnut is coming to CityWalk at Universal Orlando this spring.The now iconic doughnut shop was created by Kenneth "Cat Daddy" Pogson and Tres Shannon in Portland, Ore. in 20...
Published: 01/18/18

Thursday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballMurray State at Belmont7 p.m.ESPNUJacksonville State at Morehead State7 p.m.CBSSNWomen: Florida at Arkansas7 p.m.SECWomen: Tennessee at Notre Dame7 p.m.ESPNMinnesota at Maryland8:30 p.m.FS1UNC Asheville at Winthrop9 p.m.ESPNUSt...
Published: 01/17/18