NEW YORK — Take a long look at this photogenic couple. The next time you see Melanie and Marcus Linial, they might be preening for the camera on their own reality show, “Opening Canal Room.” Inspired by Rocco DiSpirito’s “The Restaurant,” the Linials’ series, however, plans to document the launch of their new TriBeCa club/performance space, Canal Room.
Their story is ready-made for TV. She’s a 26-year-old Southern belle who moved to New York at 18 to model. He owned Shine, the club darling of the record industry, where such musicians as Stevie Nicks, Sheryl Crow and Jay-Z performed. They met at a dinner party in 1998, and married a year and a half later. Now, along with Marcus’ brother-in-law, Sam Lott, they’re putting the final touches on the space before their official opening in mid-September.
This story first appeared in the August 21, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“We did a test shoot last week of us getting ready for our first event for Interscope Records, and it went really well,” said Marcus Linial, 34, lounging on a black banquette in the club’s VIP section. “There’s just so much drama involved, from handling the door to prepping for special musical guests,” he said, adding that each episode would end with a performance by a scheduled band like the Foo Fighters or A Tribe Called Quest.
Though Linial, who developed the idea for a reality series, initially pitched it to one network, he now has meetings scheduled with four more, though he refuses to divulge which ones. Located in the former Shine venue, Canal Room, with its arsenal of lighting and high-tech sound system, is intended — reality show or not — to be the ultimate showcase for music in the city. The decor is Pan-Asian with a modern twist: bamboo floors, touches of red, white Barcelona chairs, black leather bar stools and a giant DJ booth in the center of it all. Linial, who works closely with all the major record labels, foresees it as an upscale place for private industry events a few nights a week, with doors opening to the masses at 11 p.m.
After 15 years in the club business and nine of them running the show, Linial says the key to success is focusing on your place, not the other hot spots in town. “Even if one night goes terribly bad, the next night may be amazing.”