Around the block again
Shelley Craft hosts another series i of f the DIY juggernaut j
SHELLEY Craft is exhausted. The 36- yearold has just finished filming back- to- back series of and on top of hosting High Home Videos.
It’s a huge workload for a mum who is juggling raising two daughters, two- year- old Milla and 11- month- old Eadie.
The past six months has been a slog for Craft – time away from cameraman husband Christian Sergiacomi and their Byron Bay home, constant interstate trips and working knee- deep in sawdust on building sites.
Sergiacomi has had to be Mr Mum, looking after Milla while Craft travels with Eadie. “I don’t know how I’ve survived,” Craft says. “Logistically, it is tough work. We have filmed
in Sydney and in Melbourne back- to- back.
“The most important thing for me is that the girls are happy and organised and then everything else comes second to that. It has been a manic six months.”
It isn’t only Craft who could be exhausted, as viewer fatigue is also a concern. Is two series of in the same year one too many?
When flopped at the start of last year, Channel 9 was in a quandary. It had no reality show to kick- start the 7pm time slot in 2013. Nine decided to plug the hole with a six- week season of spin- off,
Set in Bondi and won by Phil Rankine and Amity Dry, rated solidly, but lacked spark. It felt like a stop- gap.
co- creator Julian Cress must know viewers started to tire of when Channel 10 introduced celebrity, junior and professionals spin- offs.
ratings slipped when Seven got greedy and ran it twice a year.
Nine has the added pressure of dealing with a new- kid- on- the- block, Seven’s rival
All Stars The Block
Block: All Stars.
Dancing with the Stars’
Rules. The Block All Stars Sky
“I worry that people won’t watch one series of in any given year [ let alone two],” Cress says. “The feedback from the viewers at the end of was that they wanted more. There’s no reason we shouldn’t give it to them.” Cress has come up with a novel twist for
to stem any viewer drop- off. No terrace houses this year. Instead, five couples will renovate five floors of a former South Melbourne hotel. Teams have 10 weeks to transform more than 80 rooms into five 220sq m luxury apartments.
It is clear this twist will pay off. The challenge these five teams have faced is daunting, but with two weeks left of filming, the results are stunning.
Viewers will be gob- smacked when they see the finished apartments – they are going to sell for big bucks.
“We always have to make it harder,” Cress says.
Sky High Kitchen Rules borrows one tactic from
and This series, the five teams come from different states.
Queensland parents- of- three Mark and Katrina Johnson, 40 and 37, respectively, are the oldest couple on
Western Australia’s Matt DithCosta and Kimberley Owen, New South Wales’ Jarrod and Madison Coppock, Victoria’s George and Rebecca Douros, and South Australian identical twins Alisa and Lysandra Fraser complete the roster.
Each couple gets a base budget of $ 80,000 and Neale Whitaker, Shaynna Blaze and Darren Palmer judge the weekly room reveals.
Teams keep their auction profits and the couple whose property makes the most over reserve wins an additional $ 100,000.
“We’ve battled hard to make ends meet,” say the Johnsons, who are experienced renovators.
“is an opportunity for us to make a real difference in our children’s lives.”
It isn’t hard to imagine Nine wanting a double- helping of next year, but the personal circumstances of co- creator Cress may dictate there will only be one.
He and partner Sarah are set to have a child later this year, so family could override television.
Craft wouldn’t object to that. She figures she will have to leave Eadie at home with hubby for the next series. No mum likes that.
“I try to act tough and pretend like it is all roses, but to be honest I haven’t slept properly for 11 months,” Craft says.
“I think everyone’s ready for a serious break.”