Tag Archives: HGTV Canada

Randy Spracklin and his team are rockin’ it in Rock Solid Builds

One of the most creative and entertaining home renovation shows on the air right now is Rock Solid Builds.

Airing Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on HGTV Canada, Rock Solid Builds is a flurry of construction, music, practical jokes and unique terminology all set in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and its surrounding communities. At the heart of the whirlwind is Randy Spracklin.

Spracklin is a third-generation builder and co-owner of Newfound Builders, based out of Brigus, Nfld., who reveals that despite wanting to grow his family-run business via additional staff—like his dad Scott, and team members Nikki, Paul and Josh, who appear on-camera—television wasn’t in his plans. In fact, if it wasn’t for checking his email’s junk folder and seeing one from production company Cineflix one day, Rock Solid Builds never would have happened.

“I got an email from Cineflix looking for an east coast TV show,” Spracklin remembers. “I looked at it and thought, ‘Is this real? Is this something?'” He responded to the email, did some Zoom calls, created a sizzle reel for Cineflix and things went from there.

“We’ve joked about TV over the years, but little did we think that we would be on it,” he says. “I guess the universe was saying, ‘You thought about it… here it is.”

Spracklin is Rock Solid Builds‘ jovial host, serving as the viewers’ guide to countless projects, from new builds to additions, kitchen and bathroom renovations and even the odd root cellar needing an update. A dramatic storytelling point in shows like these is when things go wrong, like a septic line being cracked or a floor suddenly needing to be re-supported. But where most hosts roll their eyes and worry for a segment or two, Spracklin takes it all in stride, usually with a joke and a crooked smile while wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the word Mint. What you see on camera is exactly what Newfound Builders tackle every day from sun-up to sun-down, including weather that can suddenly turn nasty, to supply chain issues that can occur when you live and work on an island.

“We’re looking for specialty items and they can be manufactured all over the world and sometimes the only way to get here is by boat or by plane,” Spracklin says. “And, what we’ve faced in the past year are even more shortages so, yeah, there are cases where we can’t move forward and finish the plumbing or close in the ceilings. You have to be creative and try to work around that.”

Some of those items are simply stunning, serving as showcases to the magnificent work unveiled at the end of each instalment of Rock Solid Builds. Those reveals are immediately followed by the obligatory feast in the homeowners’ kitchen, a legit part of Newfoundland life.

“If you can’t have a drink with the homeowners, then you didn’t do a good job,” Spracklin says. “To be able to sit around a table with them and the team—because everyone puts a lot of work into it—and have a cheers about it… cameras or no cameras, we would be doing it.”

Rock Solid Builds airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on HGTV Canada.

Images courtesy of Cineflix.

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Preview: Rock Solid Builds returns for more jobs in Season 2

Last year at around this time, I previewed Season 1 of Rock Solid Builds. I praised the storytelling, setting and projects featured. I wasn’t alone in liking it. Rock Solid Builds was second only to Murdoch Mysteries for the positive comments it received here at TV, Eh?

Season 2—kicking off Thursday at 10 p.m. ET/PT on HGTV Canada—sticks with its winning formula of spotlighting Randy Spracklin of Newfound Builders and his team of equally entertaining folks renovating and building homes on The Rock. Supported by a sprightly soundtrack, Randy, Scott, Nikki, Paul and Josh jump between jobs in the spring, juggling projects in St. John’s and their homeport of Brigus, working on old and new homes, with a few quirky projects thrown in. Aside from new additions to the Newfound Builders family in the form of canines, there are new responsibilities too as Nikki wants to add more to her plate.

The first project to visit is in St. John’s, where homeowners Ros and Katie want to make changes to their 100-year-old abode. The plan? To demo the existing kitchen and turn it into a music room while moving the existing music room in favour of a massive kitchen. Also on tap are updating two bathrooms. It’s a big job, but Randy is confident it will all look great in the end.

Meanwhile, across Conception Bay in Carbonear is a 19th-century root cellar that needs attention. The owners want theirs repaired and Randy is happy to oblige, first doing some demolition and then, alongside his father Scott, showing the traditional way of building a rock wall.

And, aside from the work, there is plenty of play … and laughs. Rock Solid Builds showcases the beauty of Newfoundland and its people with episode-ending opportunities to step ‘er down and reinforce that feeling of family Randy has instilled in the company.

Rock Solid Builds airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on HGTV Canada.

Image courtesy of Corus Entertainment.

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Thunderbird Entertainment’s Great Pacific Media announces production is underway on new lifestyle series Gut Job starring Sebastian Clovis

From a media release:

Great Pacific Media (GPM), the unscripted division of Thunderbird Entertainment Group Inc. (TSXV: TBRD, OTCQX: THBRF), in partnership with Corus Studios, is pleased to announce principal photography has started on HGTV Canada’s Gut Job in Toronto.

Gut Job (8×60) will see the return of fan-favourite Canadian contractor Sebastian Clovis from the popular lifestyle series $ave My Reno. In the new series, Clovis will guide property owners through the biggest home renovations of their lives. Gut Job will air on HGTV Canada in 2022, and casting is underway in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

Gut Job was born from Clovis’ years of coaching homeowners through all types of housing and renovation issues. Through this new series, Clovis will use his experience and skills to guide overwhelmed homeowners through the gut-wrenching gauntlet of surprises and decisions that come with renovations. Viewers will have a front row seat watching Clovis help homeowners gut, design, build and beautify problematic properties into jaw-droppers.

For information on Thunderbird and to subscribe to the Company’s investor list for news updates, go to www.thunderbird.tv. Corus Studios will lead distribution for the series internationally.

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Jesse Fawcett launches independent production company, Fireworks Media Group

From a media release:

Prolific award-winning television producer Jesse Fawcett has launched Fireworks Media Group, a North American-based production company to develop and produce premium unscripted and scripted content.

Fawcett is well known in the entertainment business as a co-founding partner of global content company Essential Media Group where he helmed North American operations until the company was successfully sold to Kew Media in 2018. In 2020, Fawcett and Greg Quail re-acquired the assets of Essential from Kew and relaunched as EQ Media Group. Now, Fawcett is poised to inaugurate his own venture, Fireworks Media Group, together with a cross-border team of veteran production professionals.

Under the new banner, the company is producing the new original series Pamela Anderson’s Home Reno Project (working title) for HGTV Canada with iconic Baywatch star Pamela Anderson returning to her Canadian roots to rebuild the family home of her dreams. The series is executive produced by Brandon Lee, Fawcett and Firework’s new President of Canada, Robert Hardy. Corus Studios will distribute the series internationally. Pamela Anderson is represented by Chris Smith at ICM Partners. Fireworks Media Group has also secured an exclusive first-look scripted development deal with social media sensation Kris Collins, who has amassed over 32 million followers and 1.4 billion likes.

In addition, Fireworks Media Group is currently in production on sophomore seasons of the real estate unscripted series Selling the Big Easy for HGTV in the US as well as Corus Studios’ Big Timber which airs on HISTORY in Canada and Netflix in the US and internationally. A top performer on HISTORY and Netflix, Big Timber. follows the high-stakes work of logger and sawmill owner Kevin Wenstob as he and his crew go to extremes to keep the family sawmill, and their way of life, alive.

Some of the other successful shows completed during Fawcett’s tenure at EQ Media Group include No Demo Reno which recently launched on HGTV as the #1 cable premiere in the Thursday 8-9pm timeslot, multi-season hit series Restored airing on Discovery+, the paranormal reality series Ghost Loop for Travel Channel and 165 episodes of Texas Flip N’ Move, perennial #1 series on DIY Network.

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Preview: HGTV’s Farmhouse Facelift updates history-filled homes

Kudos to the folks at HGTV Canada for debuting two new—and noteworthy—renovation series in the past several weeks. The first, Rock Solid Builds, follows a family-run business in small-town Newfoundland. The second debuts Wednesday.

Farmhouse Facelift, bowing Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET/PT on the specialty network, catches up with siblings Carolyn Wilbrink and Billy Pearson as they update farmhouses in Southern Ontario. Not only is it nice to see homes being worked on outside of the Toronto area—Paris, Canning, St. Thomas, and Zorra are among the locations in Season 1—but Wilbrink and Pearson are charming and know their stuff.

Wilbrink, who owns CW Design and Co. with her husband, focuses mainly on the interior designs while Pearson wields the hammer on the projects, though both tackle many jobs.

“Billy and I collaborate on a lot of our work,” Wilbrink says during a phone interview. “And when we go in I always look at a space as a whole. Whatever I do is such a blend of keeping the old with the new. If we tear down a wall, Billy is peeling off all of the trim, hardware, and everything else to put it back up on the new walls.”

That’s evident in Episode 1 when Pearson re-uses old trim in a farmhouse kitchen to highlight a new pantry and repurposes materials for a drop-dead kitchen island.

“If something has lasted 150 years—and a lot of these houses are 150 years old older—why would you throw it out when you can re-use it and keep it beautiful and update with paint?” Pearson says. “People buy a farmhouse based on that charm and character and they don’t want to lose all of that history in a renovation.”

Farmhouse Facelift airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on HGTV Canada.

Image courtesy of Corus Entertainment.

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