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BHS grad’s TV show about ‘The Capones’ premieres Jan. 28

Barringtnative Curtis Leopardo his wife Carproduced new reality TV show 'The Capones' through their Bonnie Clyde Medicompany. | Provided

Barrington native Curtis Leopardo and his wife, Cara, produced the new reality TV show "The Capones" through their Bonnie and Clyde Media company. | Provided

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Updated: March 26, 2014 3:37AM

Barrington native Curtis Leopardo’s new reality TV show — featuring all of the cheesy melodrama of a family somewhere between the Kardashians and the Sopranos — will premiere at 9 p.m. Jan. 28 on the Reelz channel.

The 2006 Barrington High School graduate produced “The Capones,” which follows Al Capone’s descendants as they run a pizza restaurant in Lombard.

Leopardo, who previously produced two reality shows and worked on several feature films, said his idea for “The Capones” came to him in Los Angeles, although he had long known Dominic Capone, a relative of the notorious Chicago mobster who died in 1947. Dominic Capone immediately shared Leopardo’s enthusiasm for the project.

“Picture the Kardashians meets ‘The Sopranos,’” Leopardo said. “It’s very loud and crazy. They’re nuts, but in a good way. I was blown away and I knew we had gold on our hands. Then we found a home on the Reelz channel.”

To film the show, Leopardo and his wife, Cara, returned to Chicago, where they were introduced to a charismatic and colorful cast of characters with nicknames like “Sausage” and “Meatball.”

“They put their heart and soul into it,” Leopardo said.

Scheduled for a 10-episode first season, the show follows the restaurant managers and the family’s home life.

Excited for the debut of his most prominent project to date, Leopardo said he always had a passion for show business, with his chief interest behind the camera. After high school in Barrington, he moved to Los Angeles to launch a career in Hollywood. With his wife, Cara, Leopardo created Bonnie and Clyde Media, which produces, directs and casts in Chicago and Los Angeles.

“My career started in the feature film world,” he said. “My wife comes from the casting world, so we kind of merged our interests together. We focus on the Chicago area because we’re from here. We’re constantly scouting the area for the next big thing.”

The husband and wife team previously worked on the comedy reality show “The Casting Office” and “The Sisterhood” on the Learning Channel, which follows the wives of pastors in Atlanta.

Leopardo also was the executive producer of two feature films, “The Tortured” in 2010, and “Mother’s Day” in 2009. He also worked with the producers of the “Saw” horror movie franchise.

Although he enjoyed his work in the feature film world, Leopardo said he likes the fast pace of reality TV as well.

“It’s high energy and I like that lifestyle,” he said. “It’s growing like crazy and I think it’s a very lucrative market. We’re learning every day. We’re absorbing so much knowledge and interesting things.”

He left Barrington after high school, but Leopardo said he will always be fond of the town in which he grew up and will always be a fan of the Catlow Theater and Egg Harbor restaurant.

“It’s a lovely town,” he said. “I met a lot of great people growing up and it’s just a beautiful town. I feel like people in the Midwest have strong values and I feel I gained some of that.”

Leopardo also credited his start as a production assistant for his success. It sometimes entailed running errands, but the skills he developed appear to be paying off.

“It all starts with production assistant work,” he said. “That’s the best way to start in this.”

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