Family Business Expands Its Tool Set

Drew and Jonathan Scott are best known as co-hosts of the successful HGTV home renovation series The Property Brothers. The 39-year-old twins have also used their talented tools in the production arena, creating original unscripted and scripted fare through their production company Scott Brothers Entertainment. Shows generated by the brothers for the three-year-old company include Brother vs. Brother and Property Brothers at Home.

The Scott brothers recently spoke to Multichannel News programming editor R. Thomas Umstead to discuss their success and future plans both on-screen and behind the scenes on the production front. An edited transcript follows.

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MCN:At this point in your careers, are you more excited about a future on-screen as television show hosts, or behind the scenes as producers?
Drew Scott: Jonathan and I obviously really enjoy being on-screen as hosts of what we do and we will continue to do. However, there’s only so much time available to be filming and shooting. We shoot over 50 hours of original programming a year and in the home space, so for us it was a natural progression to go to the producing side because we can develop new talent, we can develop new shows and expand past that crutch of us having to be on camera. So we actually produce quite a few shows for Scripps Networks from home to travel. Actually, the whole reason we got into real estate was to fund our creative endeavors and try to do scripted projects, and we just took off with what we were doing within real estate and then hosting. Now we’ve come back to our roots of producing.

MCN:Do you see yourselves developing scripted content at some point in the near future?
Johnathan Scott: We actually have several feature scripts that were written at some point that we will produce. We’re in the process right now of co-producing a scripted comedy with another major production company, but our wheelhouse is definitely lifestyle television non-scripted programming. Even in the home space, we get approached by many, many networks and other large production companies that share expertise in the home space, who really want to capitalize on how efficient we’ve become in creating that kind of programming.

DS: With our production company, Scott Brothers Entertainment, we embraced the digital realm a lot sooner than a lot of other production companies. For HGTV, we have produced some of their top-viewed digital content such as Toddler vs. Toddler, which was a scripted take on our show Brother vs. Brother.

MCN:If you weren’t initially looking to become real estate TV stars, how didProperty Brothersbecome so popular?
JS: I did not think Drew would be popular at all. (Laughs.) It’s funny, you never know what an audience is going to really enjoy. The interesting thing is originally going way back in the day, we were approached by another production company to do Property Brothers, and it was sort of following what we were doing with clients. And originally when we took the show out, the networks didn’t see the brother dynamic being as effective as the male/female host dynamic. But it eventually became successful, and we’ve discovered throughout the years of doing the show and all of our spinoff shows that it’s really more about the story, the banter between us and the connection with the homeowners than just the beautiful before and after.

DS: Way back in the beginning, we never thought in a million years about being hosts because we were actors as kids, and acting was a huge passion of mine along with directing scripted shows. But when we were being approached as real estate experts for a show pitch, I started thinking, “OK, maybe there is something in that space that can help grow our brand and our business.” We were always more of the savvy business mind; we were never just actors or talent waiting for the next call from our agent. So we then started to see how becoming hosts could really open up an opportunity for us to expand what we do, as well as expand our production company.

MCN:There seem to be a lot of home-themed shows in the marketplace across numerous networks. Are you concerned about genre oversaturation?
JS: There is still a demand for these shows — even if you go back 20 or 30 years, people love talking about real estate; they are always looking for inspiration. Our shows are airing in over 150 countries and you wouldn’t think off the top of your head that our shows would be appealing in someplace like Asia but they really are. So I think it’s a matter of finding a unique format and a unique way to stand out. Those shows that hope to have the most success are the ones that are authentically doing what they set out to do.

DS: Our development team is scouring the U.S. and Canada every day looking for new talent through social platforms. We’re looking for those authentic people doing what they do day in and day out and trying to bring those stories to the public.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.