Jason Abrams on set with business
associate Kristen Cook
Former Detroiters bring together fabulous homes
and sports stars in new HGTV series.
I Contributing Writer
elebrity homes currently are
where the heart is for three West
Bloomfield High School gradu-
ates who got to know one another after
they left Michigan to pursue their dreams.
Jason Abrams, Marcy Soufrine and Eric
Leemon teamed up through overlapping
careers that took them to California, and
they are following up with an idea that
puts high-end property at the heart of
their immediate professional interests — a
new TV series, Scoring the Deal, which
debuts at 11 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 8, on
Viewers will watch a string of national
sports figures as they hunt for their dream
Abrams, a real estate entrepreneur,
serves as host. Production responsibilities
are in the hands of Soufrine and Leemon,
co-creators of the series.
In seven episodes, property shoppers
have included Clinton Portis, running
back for the Washington Redskins; Greivis
Vasquez, guard for the New Orleans
Hornets; and Vernon Davis, tight end for
the San Francisco 49ers.
"We're in a different city each week with
a different celebrity:' says Abrams, 33,
joined on camera by his business associ-
ate Kristen Cook. "They're all looking for
privacy and sanctuary. They want to relax
without worrying about prying eyes:'
The core idea for the show came from
Soufrine, who had worked with Abrams
in Michigan real estate and got to know
Leemon as she entered reality TV in
When Soufrine learned about the way
Abrams' career had grown with athletes as
clients, she introduced Abrams to Leemon
and suggested the format for the show.
They filmed a 10-minute segment of
what a program could include, pitched
it to networks and mulled over multiple
offers before deciding on HGTV. The pro-
cess has taken almost two years.
"I love the relationship Jason has
with clients:' says supervising producer
Soufrine, 38, who has held on to real
estate responsibilities in Los Angeles while
building a television career. "He has great
All three had religious rapport with
Jewish basketball star Jordan Farmar, the
former New Jersey Nets guard who played
for Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel during the
National Basketball Association lockout
and is now signed with a professional team
"When the strike ended, we got a phone
call from him in Israel: explains the East
Coast-based Abrams, whose national firm,
the Abrams Team, has been in business 12
years and has offices in Michigan, Arizona
"He had to get back into practice imme-
diately. After he landed in New Jersey, he
had two practice sessions in one day and
went out to see properties that night.
"We filmed the whole experience in real
time, and of all the episodes we did, that
was the most challenging. In very limited
hours, we had to find a family-friendly
place [suitable for] the new, beautiful baby
girl he and his wife had:'
Jewish basketball star Jason Farmar
will be featured in one of the episodes.
Abrams, who entered real estate in
Michigan almost out of high school, recalls
his first athlete client as a Detroit Lion met
through a referral.
"The day that I closed that deal, I got on
a plane and went on my first business trip,"
says Abrams, the son of Helen and Ronald
Abrams and grandson of Martha Boraks.
"I flew to Los Angeles unannounced
simply to say thank you for allowing me
to serve that client. I did the same thing
with that client's financial adviser based in
"No one had ever shown up just to say
thank you before, and a few weeks later,
a National Football League draftsman
referred me to other players:'
Abrams, who celebrated his bar mitz-
vah at Temple Israel, recently found a
Birmingham home for himself and wife
Kristina, who works for an architectural
firm outside Washington, D.C., so they can
be close to family as they await the birth of
their first child.
"Jason has a very dynamic personality
for this fun, fast-paced show:' says execu-
tive producer Leemon, 41. "With the big-
name athletes and beautiful real estate, we
have a great combination and scenes that
are visually stunning!'
Leemon, who now makes his home in
New York, has been involved with pro-
duction since the 1990s. His first job out
of college was in the mailroom at a Los
Angeles talent agency. He moved on to
become creative director at a studio before
finding a place in show development.
"I have an extensive background in
documentary television, dealing with
interesting personalities who work in very
unique circumstances," says Leemon, who
has produced Ax Men and Deadliest Catch
for the History Channel, Wild Justice for
National Geographic and Hardcore Pawn
"For Scoring the Deal, I traveled to all
the cities. I also field directed the action
besides managing the whole process:'
Leemon, who grew up in a culturally
Jewish household and is single, graduated
from Eastern Michigan University with
degrees in political science and organiza-
tional communications. He is the son of
Betsy Sax, who moved from Michigan to
California, and Arnold Leemon, a local
retirement investment counselor.
"It takes an army of people to make
a television show:' says Leemon, who
recently had another pilot picked up by the
History Channel. "I've found Marcy to be
a very talented producer who is reputable
Soufrine, who holds a bachelor's degree
in communications from the University
of Michigan-Dearborn, accepted produc-
tion assignments for Comcast in Michigan
before joining reality TV out West. She
has worked behind the scenes on The Real
Housewives of New York City, High School
Musical: Get in the Picture and Seriously
Soufrine, who is single, was enrolled in
religious studies at Temple Israel and sum-
mered at Camp Tamarack. She keeps up
her connections to the Jewish community
by volunteering for Jewish Big Brothers
Big Sisters in LA.
"I really like mixing real estate with TV,"
says Soufrine, who regularly returns to the
area to visit mom Karen Egren and grand-
mother Shirley Gordon. "One day, I hope
to have my own places in both California
Scoring the Deal debuts at 11 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 8, on HGTV.
January 3 • 2013