THE Sons of Hollywood were holding court at Koi, a sushi restaurant on La Cienega whose bouncers won't even let you in the door without a confirmed reservation. No matter. The Sons of Hollywood can get in to any restaurant, any club, any party they feel like because they are, after all, minor royalty in this money- and fame-besotted town.
"We definitely go to the marquee kind of spots," said David Weintraub, a 28-year-old manager and producer who is not technically a son of Hollywood (mom is a psychotherapist, dad was a dentist), but may as well be since he grew up surrounded by them. With his close friends Sean Stewart, the 26-year-old son of rock legend Rod Stewart, and Randy Spelling, the 28-year-old son of the late television pioneer Aaron Spelling, Weintraub helped create and is costarring in "Sons of Hollywood," a forthcoming A&E; Network reality show that some have dubbed "the real 'Entourage.' "
"For me, it was life imitating art," said the show's executive producer, J.T. Taylor, who also produced "The Osbournes" and "House of Carters." "They are sort of living that life." (Minus an actual movie star, of course.)
And although the trio's beginnings can hardly be called humble, like the fictional stars of the HBO series "Entourage," they go way back. Weintraub and Spelling attended school together (Montclair Prep in Van Nuys.) They move in that weird young Hollywood circle where everyone seems to know everyone and takes it for granted that their lives are of interest to others. Take Koi: The restaurant's manager, Mark Basile, was once Spelling's trainer and used to baby-sit Paris Hilton, who was once a client of Weintraub's and is a friend of all three Sons. When someone dismissively mentioned Hilton's sometime nemesis Lindsay Lohan, Stewart said, sincerely, that he liked her. Of course, he referred to her using fellow Hollywood scion Brandon Davis' now-notorious descriptor.
Weintraub, whose father died when he was 3, is a consummate baby mogul, someone who describes closing a deal as a physical high, and who got his taste of the business at 15 when he talked his way into an internship at Interscope Records. While studying entertainment business at USC, he worked in talent development for Death Row Records. "David has incredible focus and determination," said his mom, Judy, who will appear in an episode. "He has had to pay his own way, he has to work for whatever he wants to get and he is willing to do what it takes to get it."
Last summer, David Weintraub left United Talent Agency, where he had once been its youngest film agent. Last week, he signed on with Coalition Media Group. "Yes, I am very much an L.A. type," he said. "But I never became that type. I always just was that type."
Spelling is an actor and aspiring producer, having gotten his start on his father's "Beverly Hills, 90210." He's a sensible guy, a peacemaker in his sometimes fractious family and not at all inclined to perform as himself. (Unlike, his sister, Tori, who recently threw open her house for a garage sale and publicly feuded with their mother, Candy, after Aaron died.) "I was like, 'No way.' I am not into that," said Randy Spelling. But after meeting Taylor and "some coaxing," as he put it, from Weintraub, he decided to join the show. "David is just a hustler," he said, not without admiration. "He can talk anyone into or out of doing anything." One point not lost on Spelling: A reality show, if exploited correctly, can be considered a top-notch EPK -- electronic press kit -- and will lead to other work, which is a reason everyone seems keen to be doing them.
Stewart, lanky, tousled and tattooed, has a big heart, a foul mouth, a short attention span and an almost endearing propensity for nudity. A recovering drug addict, he is unguarded and amusing, sometimes unintentionally so. He lives in a guesthouse on the Beverly Park estate of his father, who will occasionally be seen on the show.
When his mother, Alana Hamilton Stewart, first heard about the "Sons" project, she was alarmed. Sean was beset by learning disabilities and teased a lot as a kid, she said, and he has always worried her. "He's got that crazy, impulsive side," she said. "No inner filter, which can be a good thing or a bad thing."
In a genial and profanity-laced conversation at Koi, Sean Stewart proved his mom's point. When asked what he's done since high school, he said, "Do you honestly want to know? Lot of rehab. Lot of drugs. Heroin and pills. Lot of alcohol. And that's about it.
"I don't care what people think of me. I am funny, courageous, outgoing, not afraid to say what the hell I want. I have gotten smacked across the face a few times in my life. I have an outrageous mouth. I don't know why. My dad must have been pretty wasted when he had me."
Snuggling next to Stewart was his immensely poised girlfriend, Caleigh Peters, a gravelly voiced high school senior who is the daughter of producer Jon Peters. Caleigh, 18 with a fledgling singing career, does not flinch at anything that comes out of her beau's mouth.
At the end of December, Sean popped the question to Caleigh. When that came up last week in an interview, Alana Stewart sighed. Sean's sister, Kimberly, had just gone through a two-minute engagement with Talan Torriero, a former star of MTV's reality show "Laguna Beach" (briefly a client of Weintraub's).
"Kids today get engaged like we used to go steady," she said. "I don't know how serious it is. I know they have been hanging out and she is adorable."
Weintraub had conceived the show with two other pals, Andy Moonves and Bobby Heyward. Moonves, son of CBS Chairman Les Moonves, and Heyward, son of Andrew Heyward, chief executive of the children's entertainment company DIC, bowed out: "Being on camera wasn't the right fit for their lifestyles."
Although everyone insists the show was sold on its merits, not nepotism, its very premise has a certain poignancy, given the large shadows cast by the fathers of Stewart and Spelling. To their credit, the sons don't pretend otherwise. "My dad is one of the biggest rock and roll stars in the world," said Stewart. "It is very daunting. I used to look at him and go, 'I am gonna be up there one day,' but I never had the self-confidence or self-esteem to believe in myself until recently."
"It's like trying to fit into Shaq O'Neal's shoes," said Spelling. "Never gonna happen. I mean, my dad's in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most prolific producer in history. The man was a genius. I can't really compare myself."
For the show, which is scheduled to premiere April 1, the trio moved into a home in the Hollywood Hills for four months last year. What ensued was a heightened version of their already high-octane lives. Weintraub negotiated a music deal for Stewart and a movie deal for Spelling, Aaron Spelling died and Stewart appeared naked many times.
"Sean likes to be in the buff. There's no way to avoid that," said Taylor, the producer. "There is a lot of comedy in their relationships. Randy is very much the straight man. With Sean, you never know what you are going to get. And David is sort of the guy between them, holding it together, keeping the ship on an even keel."
For him, a good part of the drama is centered on the privileged lives of Stewart and Spelling: "It's watching how they handled the day-to-day access to privilege that they have. You have a unique opportunity to screw it up really badly or take advantage of it. It's really tough in this town."
Robert Sharenow, the A&E; programming executive who bought the show, called it "a real home run" for the network, which has had other reality shows of varying degrees of success, including "Dog the Bounty Hunter" and "Gene Simmons: Family Jewels." "One of the reasons we are attracted to Sean, Randy and Dave is these guys just go," he said. "It's nonstop comedy and drama with them."
After their dinner at Koi, the Sons sauntered across La Cienega to Area, the latest Sam Nazarian-Brent Bolthouse hotspot. "Seany, Seany, Seany," a good-looking brunet murmured languidly to Stewart as he passed her on the sidewalk. "Again?"
Someone asked Spelling for an autograph. Sweeping past paparazzi and wannabes, past velvet ropes and bouncers, Weintraub led the way to a corner table, ordered good Champagne and surveyed the room while Spelling drifted off to chat with friends and Stewart and Peters plopped down on a sleek leather sofa. "I've probably had sex with half the girls in this place," Stewart said a few minutes later to no one in particular. Peters, either headed for early sainthood or too young to know she should be alarmed, did not react.
One table over, an MTV film crew had a camera trained on Lauren Conrad, star of its reality show "The Hills." (She was a breakout star from the first season of "Laguna Beach," which also, as mentioned, spawned Torriero, Sean Stewart's ex-future brother-in-law.)
In any case, no one even seemed to notice the camera.