Martins Ferry twins featured in reality series

It hasn’t mattered what it’s been for Daniel and Derek Koch.

Whatever, the twin brothers seem to touch or get involved with they’ve succeeded. Whether you date back to their prep sports careers or fast forward to the present and their entrepreneurial careers in New York City, it’s worked out brilliantly.

Now they’re trying their hands at television.

The Martins Ferry natives, who graduated in the Class of 2000 from St. John Central, will be two of the stars in the new E! reality series, “Playing with Fire,” which debuts this evening at 10.

The Koch twins agreed to do the show in August and filming began in September. The show will consist of six episodes and it could be renewed for a second year should it do well in ratings.

This isn’t the first time the Kochs had been approached about television. However, it’s the first time they felt all of the ingredients and timing were right.

“We feel this show can reach our kind of audience,” Daniel said during a conference call on Friday. “This is like a dream come true for Derek and I. We came (to New York) to pursue this career and now we get the opportunity to share it with everyone. This form of media couldn’t be any bigger on E!. We’re very excited.”

Derek expressed how it was an honor to even be considered for the show and neither he nor his brother foresaw what would be coming.

“We were excited to tell the story of how we got to where we are,” Derek said. “We think this show will really give an idea of what we’ve been able to build and accomplish.”

When the show was originally pitched to the Kochs, it was set up as a show that would focus on several up-and-coming chefs, restaurant entrepeneurs and others in the New York City limelight.

However, as it unfolds and the brass at E! learned more about the Kochs, it basically changed the entire premise of the show.

“This show almost totally connects to the dynamic of Derek and Daniel,” said Michael Wainstein, who is the Koch’s business partner in NYC. “It captures the explosive, completely infectious personality you’d expect from the twins. It really gives it that fire and I don’t think reality television has been able to capture this before. A Taste of New York never would have done it justice.”

According to a press release issued by E!, the show will focus on “movers and shakers of New York’s exciting restaurant industry as they work to strike a balance between busy professional and personal lives in a city known for its cut-throat competitiveness, vigorous pace and of course, delectable cuisine.”

“E! is the preeminent network in reality TV, so Daniel and Derek thought it was the perfect time and the right media to tell their story,” Wainstein said. “A real spice and excitement of this show is based on Derek and Daniel.”

E! was attracted to the Kochs because of their quick rise up the food chain in NYC as their Dual Groupe, which focused on hospitality parties, has transitioned into their Day & Night parties, which are the most successful brunch clubs in NYC, into restaurant ownership. One of the Koch’s latest ventures is a restaurant called TOY, which is an Asian eatery in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District.

The Dual Groupe has also taken on a new venture in the former Limelight Church, which has been turned into a high-end shopping center, with the Chataeu Cherbuliez, which is a nightclub.

“The storyline of the show is about their trials and tribulations of starting a business in a big city and making it successful,” Wainstein said. “There are continual challenges of staying motivated to get to the level of the twins and then you consider all of the dealings with clients and trying to maintain a healthy balance of work and social life. Plus, you’ve got the natural idea of sibling rivalry and that dimension.”

Tonight’s episode will focus on the restaurant TOY, which is at the Gansevoort Hotel in the Meatpacking District.

Both the second and third episode will take a closer look at their work at the Chataeu Cherbuliez.

During the course of the taping for the show, it was exactly what you expect in reality television. Cameras basically followed the twins around and chronicled their every move.

“We like to think that the camera is on us no matter what all of the time,” Daniel said. “We’ve set the stage in our business that every day is like show time. So, whether or not the camera is there, we’re always ready to put on a show for our clients. We’re show men. We like the spotlight and we’ve worked hard for it.”

The twins will hold a watch party each week for VIPs and guests. They’re expecting 250 guests this evening for a premier party at TOY. Next week’s will be at Cherbuliez.

Derek and Daniel also mentioned that they’re reachable on Twitter via @derekanddaniel and if you’d like to comment on the show this evening, use #playingwithfire.

Staskey can be reached at