Discovery’s cable TV offshoot channel Investigation Discovery is banking on Miami Beach nostalgia to lure viewers on a slow night — the good old days when real celebs hung out in nightclubs occupied by mobsters and locals with too much money.
The station is set to premiere a new episode at 8 p.m. Monday of its well-documented true-crime series “Vanity Fair Confidential,” this show detailing the saga of convicted mob killer and nightclub owner Chris Paciello.
Among the highlights is a rare TV interview with former Miami Beach detective Andrew Dohler, who went undercover as a dirty cop to befriend Paciello and then catch him plotting to have a rival whacked, bribing police and associating with high-level Mafia figures.
Within weeks of Dohler’s involvement, Paciello was arrested by the FBI and charged with murder, racketeering and robbery.
“Chris was a guy you could hang out with,” Dohler says in the show. “He was a very, very nice guy. But if he didn’t like you, different story. He had that mean streak in him.”
The episode was inspired by a long-form story about Paciello that appeared in the July 2000 Vanity Fair issue, titled “Chris Paciello’s Disco Inferno.”
In time, Paciello was convicted in the killing of a Staten Island housewife but flipped on fellow mobsters and was released from federal custody into a witness protection program.
Anonymity didn’t sit well with the man, however, and Paciello returned to the area in 2011.
He has opened several new late-night hangouts since, including Rockwell Miami on Washington Avenue and FDR Lounge at the Delano hotel. And he now lives in an $800,000-condo at The Meridian in Miami Beach.
The show, however, focuses on the late 1990s, when Paciello dated Madonna and sitcom star Sofia Vergara, and muscled his way to the top of the nightclub heap with the legendary club Liquid while making the once down-and-out Miami Beach into a worldwide party destination.