House Rules presenter Johanna Griggs was almost expecting to hear the first series of the renovation show was to be axed, when an encounter with a viewer made her realise it was finally taking off
It can be tough for a TV presenter to be stopped in public and told what’s wrong with their show. But when Johanna Griggs was confronted in the street by a distressed viewer who lectured her about contestants’ poor choice of furniture, she couldn’t have been happier.
It meant people were watching, and that was a far cry from the launch episodes of the Seven Network’s renovation series in 2013 when viewer numbers were evaporating.
“Then you have that moment like, do we have their full confidence or is this like the support of the board for an AFL or NRL coach under pressure?”
Griggs had reason to be sceptical about the renovation show’s future.
Despite an enormous advertising budget the series was returning sub-standard figures in the first week on air.
It debuted with 803,000 viewers and the following night the audience dropped to 784,000. By the third episode the viewer numbers fell even further to an embarrassing 687,000.
Rumours started circulating that the series would soon be punted to one of Seven’s secondary channels and ultimately axed.
Instead, the network persisted and House Rules became a phenomenal success, regularly topping a million viewers per episode, and earning a second season which started yesterday. “They started promoting it differently and it worked,” she says.
“I knew we were going to be OK because in the second week I walked into the local shops and a lady said to me ‘I wouldn’t have picked those side tables last night’.”
“All of sudden more people started to talk to me about it and I knew it was going to be fine.”
Griggs says there are only slight changes to the format for the second serving of House Rules, which centres on six couples who put their own homes up for renovation.
She was surprised at how naive some of the couples were regarding the amount of work they had to do in the limited amount of time they are given.
“They stood there in shock after the first week in Sydney and said they thought the time they would spend on the house each week would be similar to the amount of time it was on TV,” Griggs says.
“They all think they are going to handle this easy, but there are homes this series that almost defeat the contestants.”
The teams are: Bomber and Mel (SA), who own a 110-yearold cottage; Carole and Russell (WA), who have a rundown fibro cottage; Brooke and Grant (Tas), who have five children and live in a two-and-a-half bedroom house; Maddi and Lloyd (QLD), who have a home which has rot, mould, uneven floors and plumbing issues; Candy and Ryan (NSW), who posses a home which was once owned by Franciscan friars; and Adam and Lisa (VIC), who own a 1960s three-bedroom weatherboard house.
airs Sundays to Thursdays on the Seven Network.