House of Highlights founder Omar Raja is looking to extend his reach beyond Instagram with a new monthly show airing on Twitter.

By Jacob Feldman
October 24, 2018

After four years of curating sports clips from across the internet—and collecting over 10 million followers on Instagram—House of Highlights founder Omar Raja is stepping in front of the camera.

When The House of Highlights Show debuts on Twitter Thursday at 8:30 p.m. eastern, Raja (though HoH fans generally know him simply as “Omar”) will be sitting on a couch in a Bleacher Report studio, co-hosting with House of Highlights head writer and creative director C.J. Toledano. “This is kind of the natural evolution,” Raja says. “It’s always good to have more skills—and then when we’ve done the runs, I was like, ‘This is so much fun.’”

The show will air monthly, with episodes ranging from 75 to 90 minutes and guests including athletes and entertainers. There will also be interactive segments with Twitter users and live reactions to anything going on in the sports world. It’s as much an evolution for the brand as it is for Raja itself. Bleacher Report acquired House of Highlights in 2016 with plans to make it a Gen Z destination beyond Instagram. It launched an HoH YouTube page earlier this year. When Twitter reached out this summer about expanding its live show partnership program, House of Highlights general manager Doug Bernstein was excited about bringing Raja to #NBATwitter. “What we really want to be is a media brand,” Bernstein says, “and that means having a presence on multiple platforms.”

Raja said he isn’t nervous about his debut—or at least not yet. Having altered the way sports clips are shared on social media, popularizing a casual style that comes instinctively to the 24-year-old, he’s excited about giving his fans a chance to engage with the content in real time. “They in a way will help produce the show,” Raja says. And if he and Toledano produce any viral moments, the next Raja will be ready to clip it and share it with the world.

How will Raja judge the show’s success? “If the content is good,” he says. “House of Highlights was built on every single piece of content we put out being good, so I’m only praying for the quality of the show. I hope it’s good.” But Raja was a business major before he became a rising sports media figure, and he’s transitioned over the last year from focusing solely on the day-to-day product to crafting the brand’s long-term roadmap. Now working with a team of 10, he still will frequently post clips, but now balances that responsibility with the bigger picture. The goal, as Bernstein puts it, “is for people to associate House of Highlights with their identity. We would love it if people describe themselves as House of Highlights fans. That’s what we are going towards and that’s why this show is so important.” The company is betting on its fans wanting more House of Highlights content and deeper engagement with its producers. With other brands having copied the tone that launched HoH, personalities will keep it relevant.

So yeah, Raja’s move from curator to co-host is big. Just a few days ago, in a home-improvement-gone-wrong moment worthy of social media, Raja shattered his shower door, sending glass everywhere. He still has bandages across three of his fingers, which makes keeping up with his hundreds of Instagram DMs even more irksome. But, Raja says, he’s just glad his face emerged unscathed.

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