From The Ground Up
One of Canada’s most popular television personalities and home decorators with her own long-running television series, Debbie Travis, created a new primetime reality show series, but with a twist. Travis brought together 12 young Canadians between the ages of 20 and 30 who needed a break or were just plain disillusioned and a bit directionless, to give them a chance to win cash, fame, or at least learn some new skills for a future career. The task? Literally building a luxury mansion from the ground up, all in just five weeks.
Travis traveled across Canada, interviewing thousands of potential candidates, looking for a dozen protégés. The 12 selected had their own emotional and personal story to tell which would unfold as the series progressed.
With the help of Travis, Tribute Communities (one of Canada’s leading award-winning builders), and the best master crafts people in Canada, the protégés were given five weeks to build a luxury mansion “from the ground up”, in Oakville, Ontario. The stakes were high for the protégés, as well as for Travis, as the mansion had to be built to meet the highest standards.
Viewers across Canada would be asked to vote at the conclusion of the series to select the protégé who had the best attitude and ability. Then, when the mansion was sold, that selected protégé would walk away with $250,000 from the profit on the sale of the home.
Travis was to become part of the protégés’ everyday lives, trying to mentor, guide and inspire this group to not only learn the trades, but hopefully discover a passion for them, and turn their lives around. The series was more than about building a house, it was about rebuilding lives. The protégés also lived together in a dorm, so that side of the experience would also be part of the program.
The 10-episode, one-hour primetime show debuted April 23, 2006.
Production Company: RTR Media, a partnership between Hans Rosenstein, Debbie Travis, and Kit Redmond.
Time slot: Sundays 7:00 pm, with repeat show the following Saturday at 8:00 pm
Running time: 60 minutes
Written by Joanne Ingrassia - April, 2006