Next fall, Knoxville, Tenn.-based DIY Network plans to begin airing a new series it has developed with the producers of the popular “This Old House,” with weekly segments that will highlight new products, technologies, and construction techniques for building new homes and renovating older ones.
The series is called “This New House,” and its hosts will be Kevin O’Connor (who currently hosts “This Old House”) and Amy Matthews, a licensed contractor who hosts DIY Network’s “Sweat Equity” and “Blog Cabin” series. The cable network has ordered 13 half-hour episodes of ”This New House” so far, with the first scheduled to air in the third quarter of 2010.
“This is going to be about really new stuff--not what’s already on Home Depot’s shelves, but what could be there in three years,” Kathleen Finch, DIY Network’s general manager, tells BUILDER.
Instead of following the standard format of most home-improvement shows—tracking the progress of a renovation and the anxieties of homeowners involved in the project—“This New House” instead will interview various experts, such as builders, scientists, and manufacturers, about cutting-edge products and building methods. Finch said that the hosts would be traveling all over the country as well as overseas to meet with these professionals.
For example, Finch says she can envision a segment where one of the hosts visits Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, which recently has been testing the effectiveness of bio-based insulation products for sealing a house. Finch says the show’s challenge will be to present such topics in ways that everyday homeowners can comprehend. “This show will be consumer friendly.”
Each show, with 23 minutes of actual airtime, will have five or six segments. When BUILDER interviewed Finch on Monday, the show had already shot its first segment at the Department of Energy’s recent Solar Decathlon in Washington, D.C. Indeed, energy efficiency will be one of “This New House’s’” main areas of exploration. “We’ll be showcasing things that can save people lots of money in the long run,” says Finch.
Teams of researchers are looking for new ideas, and the show’s producers—led by Bruce Irving, a former “This Old House” producer—have “at least 10 years of experience” in this field. Finch says the show already has “a huge list” of potential topics it could cover, although she couldn’t talk specifically yet about which ones it might use.
DIY Network and The Old House Ventures have been kicking around ideas for “This New House” for about a year, says Finch. Coordinating the hosts’ schedules was one challenge; the other was getting media conglomerates Scripps Networks (which owns DIY Network) and Time Inc. (which publishes This Old House magazine), on the same page.
DIY Network and “This Old House” have several marketing platforms they can use—TV, magazines, online—to promote the new prime time series. Finch notes, too, that Scripps and Time have agreed to share the show’s “flat” and video online content. “We want to reach as many consumers as we can,” she says.
John Caulfield is senior editor at BUILDER magazine.