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With ‘Daryl’s Restoration Over-Hall’ on DIY, Musical Hit-Maker Expands His TV Repertoire

Daryl Hall is making quite a cottage TV industry out of his love for old houses.

His late 1700s farmhouse in Millerton, N.Y., is the home base for the music show Live From Daryl’s House, which he and his manager, Jonathan Wolfson, created as a Web series six years ago. It’s now carried on MTV Networks-owned Palladia and VH1; Rural Media Group’s RFD-TV and FamilyNet; and on local TV stations via syndication. Hall said he’s getting prepared to start producing new episodes of the series (Palladia’s most popular show) this fall.

A circa 1787 sea captain’s house he owns in Connecticut will be the subject of his next show, on Scripps Networks Interactive’s DIY NetworkDaryl’s Restoration Over-Hall.

“I’ve always had this passion for old houses,” Hall told The Wire.

He, of course, is better known as a musician — the taller half of Hall & Oates, the duo with the most top hits in music history, according to Billboard. His songs with partner John Oates from the 1970s and ’80s include “She’s Gone,” “Sara Smile,” “Private Eyes,” “Maneater,” “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do),” “Out of Touch” and “Rich Girl.”

Perhaps you caught them performing for 30,000 at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on May 5, either in person or on AXS TV. They rocked.

DIY contacted Hall after picking up on his passion for antique architecture and asked what kind of show he’d like to do. The network has had success creating shows around other celebrities, such as actor Bronson Pinchot (who also restores old homes) and 1990s white rapper Vanilla Ice.

“I said, I want to do a show where I would restore an antique house, in a very authentic way, more or less to its original state, with some additions added on for convenience,” Hall said in a phone interview from Charleston, S.C., where he lives about half the year.

He already had the sea captain’s house, in northern Fairfield County in Connecticut, and had wanted to start working on it. That made it easy.

Kathleen Finch, general manager at DIY, loves the Over-Hall concept. And not only because Hall can draw a crowd or that he’s writing and performing the new show’s theme song (though that is a cool plus).

“It’s going to make for a great project to follow,” she said. “And it’s just a great story of one of the things that resonates so well on our air, which is people bringing back important homes.” She described the Connecticut house as “spectacular.”

Another DIY program, Rehab Addict, about a woman who lovingly restores older homes and sells them, is one of the top draws on a network that in 2012 saw its primetime audience in the target 25-54 age demographic rise 22% over 2011. DIY is enjoying another 9% rise in that demo so far in 2013, according to Nielsen.

Over-Hall plans are still being finalized. But the basic outline is Hall will bring in a team of contractors he has worked with over the years, and will bring in DIY-experienced craftsmen as well. He and Wolfson are executive producers, as they are on Daryl’s House.

Hall also plans to involve experts from the American College of the Building Arts in Charleston. “These guys are extraordinary,” he said after meeting recently with college officials. “They’re really the best at what they do.”

The show’s premiere date will depend on when the project is completed, Finch said. She wants to be able to include glimpses of the finished product at the outset.

Basketball’s Isiah Thomas Talks Success, Some Sports On New Interview Show

Isiah Thomas, the Hall of Fame basketball player, is taking a shot at hosting an interview show on TV.

His program, Unfinished Business With Isiah Thomas, is slated to premiere on a Sunday night in July (no specific date at press time) on Cinémoi North America TV, a channel on DirecTV that mostly runs international films but also airs Jonathan Ross’ interview show from the U.K.

“There will be a little sports talk, also,” Thomas told The Wire. “But it’s mainly about success stories and people who have persevered and overcome obstacles in their life, and trying to correlate how people who have become extremely successful — because we see them on television and media — the commonality they have with the everyday person.”

Thomas wrote a memoir that described his childhood poverty in Chicago, and the challenges he faced in getting a high-school education and then earning his degree at Indiana University — and winning an NCAA championship with the Hoosiers and then a National Basketball Association title with the Detroit Pistons.

Everyone faces obstacles, he said. “Life doesn’t necessarily discriminate.” We read about famous people who have endured and succeeded, Thomas said. “But I’d like to also shine the spotlight on the everyday common person who does it also.”

Who would be his ideal guest? Nelson Mandela, who held onto his beliefs despite decades in prison in South Africa, the country he later led. “I’d like to sit down and talk to him about how he did it and did he ever lose faith.”

As for the current NBA playoffs, Thomas said the Miami Heat has to be favored. But he didn’t rule out either of two teams he formerly coached — the Indiana Pacers and the New York Knicks — from having a chance to knock off the champs if their players can stay healthy.

— Kent Gibbons