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

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - TV - DAR­REN CARTWRIGHT

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.

Jo­hanna Griggs

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