KPRC’s Reiner to pur­sue fam­ily busi­ness

Houston Chronicle - - STAR LIVING - By Cary Dar­ling

Jake Reiner is trad­ing one H-town for an­other.

The Los An­ge­les-born son of a fa­mous ac­tor/ direc­tor (Rob Reiner) and grand­son of an­other (Carl Reiner), who opted not to get in­volved in the fam­ily busi­ness in fa­vor of be­ing a TV news reporter, is leav­ing his gig at Hous­ton NBC af­fil­i­ate KPRCChan­nel 2 to re­turn to Hol­ly­wood. His last day at the sta­tion will be Aug. 3.

But it’s more than a mat­ter of sim­ply chang­ing sta­tions or trad­ing hur­ri­canes for earth­quakes and the Astros for the Dodgers. Reiner, 27, wants out of the news busi­ness and into show busi­ness.

“I’ve al­ways had a pas­sion for act­ing and per­form­ing,” he said Mon­day in a phone interview. “When I was grow­ing up in LA, and in high school there, I was in all the plays and the mu­si­cals. I took im­prov classes, took standup com­edy classes and I was al­ways want­ing to per­form.”

Moon­light­ing on stage

Now, Reiner — who has been tak­ing im­prov classes at Hous­ton’s Sta­tion Theater and per­form­ing lo­cally since mov­ing here in early 2016 — is go­ing to get the chance to do what he orig­i­nally dreamed of do­ing a decade ago.

He says he de­cided not to pur­sue act­ing pro­fes­sion­ally after he failed to get into NYU’s Tisch School of Drama after high school. In­stead, he in­dulged his sec­ond love — sports — and stud­ied broad­cast­ing at Syra­cuse Univer­sity. “I’m a huge Dodgers fan. I grew up lis­ten­ing to Vin Scully and idol­ized him. Base­ball was some­thing I was pas­sion­ate about,” he said.

Reiner also didn’t want to hear what peo­ple

would say if he went into act­ing. He fig­ured it would be some­thing along the lines of, “Of course, he wants to go into act­ing. His fa­ther and grand­fa­ther did it,” Reiner sup­posed. “And what’s that go­ing to say? What are peo­ple go­ing to say about that? That did play on my mind, so I was like, ‘Well, maybe I’ll try this other av­enue and see where it takes me.’ ”

While in col­lege though, he dis­cov­ered an ap­pre­ci­a­tion for news that didn’t in­volve balls, gloves and sweaty locker rooms. “Grow­ing up, I never was re­ally in­ter­ested in the news. I never re­ally watched the news. It was only after I was at col­lege that I re­ally de­vel­oped a pas­sion for it,” he said. “It feels like a form of per­for­mance and I got that adren­a­line rush from do­ing that, an­chor­ing and re­port­ing.”

Fad­ing rush

After col­lege, he spent two and a half years at a sta­tion in Sali­nas, Calif., and then got the call to make the leap to Hous­ton in late 2015.

“KPRC was the only top 10 (mar­ket) sta­tion that I got a look from and the only one that of­fered me a gig and I was ab­so­lutely floored by that,” he said. “I never thought I’d make that jump from (mar­ket) 125 to what, at the time, was num­ber 10.” (Hous­ton is now the sev­enth largest TV me­dia mar­ket, ac­cord­ing to Nielsen.)

As much as he is ap­pre­cia­tive of KPRC and Texas — “I love Hous­ton,” he says, “the peo­ple are just so nice here” — the rush he now gets from re­port­ing the news is not as in­tense as he’d like it to be.

“I re­al­ized the most fun that I had re­port­ing was when I could be cre­ative and do in­ter­est­ing live shots, and ad lib,” he said. “For in­stance, when I cov­ered the Su­per Bowl they sent me to Philadel­phia to cover the Ea­gles fans. I got to do so many cre­ative live shots where I got my hair sprayed green on TV and got mobbed by the crowd ... . The adren­a­line of hav­ing a live au­di­ence and get­ting that di­rect feed­back al­most im­me­di­ately when you’re do­ing it, I was like, ‘yeah.’ Ul­ti­mately, I wasn’t get­ting that on a con­sis­tent ba­sis from do­ing news.”

Reiner has dab­bled in film act­ing be­fore, largely with small roles in his dad’s movies, in­clud­ing “Flipped,” “Be­ing Char­lie” and the up­com­ing “Shock and Awe,” star­ring Tommy Lee Jones, Woody Har­rel­son and James Mars­den. Fit­tingly for Reiner, the film — hit­ting the­aters July 13 — is set in the world of jour­nal­ism.

He has no par­tic­u­lar role prompt­ing him to make the move to L.A. now and says, like a lot of other ac­tors, he will take act­ing classes and get in­volved with im­prov. But he con­cedes he has some­thing the ma­jor­ity of his twen­tysome­thing as­pir­ing thes­pi­ans don’t: con­nec­tions.

“I have ben­e­fited from those con­nec­tions,” he said. “But I think what’s most valu­able is what you do with those con­nec­tions, how you rise to the oc­ca­sion. Even though a lot of peo­ple looked at my rise in news as be­ing at­trib­uted to the con­nec­tions, I felt that I had a chip on my shoul­der to be like, ‘You know what? I want to prove to every­one that I be­long here and that I’m good enough on my own.’ ”

Miss­ing home

Be­yond ca­reer con­sid­er­a­tions and love of the Dodgers, Reiner says it’s also a mat­ter of just want­ing to go home.

“I re­ally want peo­ple to know that I’m go­ing home not only be­cause I have this pas­sion for act­ing and per­form­ing (but) I want to be closer to my fam­ily,” he said. “My girl­friend lives in L.A. and I love her very much and I want to be closer to her. I would say more than any­thing, it’s a qual­ity of life de­ci­sion.”

But there are things about Hous­ton that he will take with him.

“Com­ing from Los An­ge­les, you have a cer­tain view of the world. It’s com­pletely dif­fer­ent here,” he said. “There is such a sense of com­mu­nity ... . The way I re­ally got to see that, and see what Hous­ton peo­ple are made of, was Hur­ri­cane Har­vey ... . That’s what peo­ple should think about when they think of Hous­ton.”

Jake Reiner


Jake Reiner joined KPRC-Chan­nel 2 as a reporter in 2016.

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