"Light It Up Like Vegas" With Director and Writer Leo Simone

A couple weeks ago I posted the trailer for "Light it Up Like Vegas" — a one-time special starring Mike Polk that will air later this month. Today, a little about how it came into being.

Leo Simone was born in California, but moved to Cleveland shortly after. After finishing up a Radio/TV/Film degree at Bowling Green, Simone eventually ended up back in California and then eventually ended up back in Cleveland. He worked on the briefly-aired series "Make 'Em Forget" on FSN, and apparently not done exorcising his Cleveland sports demons by reliving them, he decided it'd be more efficient to just write something that would exorcise them through fiction. Thus was born "Light It Up Like Vegas" — a quintessentially Cleveland attempt at sports catharsis.

"I was watching the Spurs and Cavs final, and the full psychological properties of Cleveland sports came into focus," says Simone. "It's similar to people telling LeBron that he can't make it happen in Cleveland, and I've been through the same thing personally. So this program is the cumulative effect of what the common Cleveland fan has been through."

The premise is simple: A guy (Mike Polk) is debating leaving Cleveland. Through some mysterious sets of events, he goes back in time to revisit the requisite moments of Cleveland sports misery. Then more magic happens and he flies into the future, when the Cavs win the NBA championship.

"It's about LeBron now. And not just about what he has been, but what he will be," says Simone. "The big question is obviously what he's going to do next year, and instead of getting all in his head like the national media will try to do the next year, we talk about it through Mike Polk's character as he decides whether he's going to stay or go."

"The moment, the key moment, was when the ping pong ball fell in Cleveland's favor, because, like Clevelanders do, you expect somehow that it's not going to happen," he says. "It's easy to exaggerate, but this is quite possibly the biggest moment in Cleveland sports history — what he decides in July 2010."

The program serves as a Cavs season opener special and will air tonight on FSN at 10 p.m.

Scroll to read more Cleveland Sports articles
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.


Join Cleveland Scene Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.