DAN STEINBERG/AP FILE PHOTODrew Lachey, host of a home improvement competition show on HGTV, says he has lots of experience from working around his house. (Dan Steinberg/Ap File Photo)
By Christopher Muther Globe Staff / June 11, 2009
Step aside Ty Pennington. Watch your tool box, Carter Oosterhouse. There's a new home improvement hunk in town. Former boy band crooner, "Dancing With the Stars" champ, and Broadway performer Drew Lachey is currently hosting HGTV's "$250,000 Challenge," where couples compete for the aforementioned cash prize. It's a home improvement version of "The Amazing Race," minus the travel and clues. Lachey not only officiates, but even helps out the teams. We spoke with Lachey last week about his new handy man status.
Q. Not to sound rude, but what qualifies you to host a home improvement show?
A. Are you questioning my carpentry skills?
A. I learned the ropes with projects around the house. I've done everything from painting to tiling floors in bathrooms. It's a pretty wide variety of projects at this point.
Q. More importantly, how did they turn out?
A. I'm proud of them. My wife likes them, so all parties concerned are happy with them. I think that's the most important thing.
Q. I noticed that you occasionally jump in and help contestants on the show. Are you worried about screwing up and costing them the prize? $250,000 is a lot of money.
A. I never was really concerned with that. Maybe I should have been. But I felt confident that I could get in there and do a good job, I'm pretty competent when it comes to those kinds of things.
Q. When you were singing with 98 Degrees, were you tiling your own bathroom, or is that a more recent development?
A. When I bought my first house, 98 Degrees was still going strong, and that was something I did on break between albums.That's when I really started to get into it. It's what I did to feel normal. It kept me grounded. I was validated as a man because I could do these sorts of things.
Q. If HGTV decided to follow this up with a "$250,000 Challenge" that pitted 98 Degrees, 'N Sync, and the Backstreet Boys against each other in a contest of home improvement skills, who would win?
A. Oh, 98 Degrees, absolutely. You didn't even have to finish the question.
Q. Well, you were always the boy band with the biceps.
A. We're also from the Midwest. We're not afraid to get our hands dirty and swing hammers.
Q. OK, and now the real purpose of this interview: When is the 98 Degrees reunion happening?
A. Honestly, we've all talked and laughed about it. I don't see it happening anytime in the future. If the opportunity presented itself, we would all be open to it, but that time is not now.