Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Decorating with the stars


‘DWTS’ champion Drew Lachey returns as host of HGTV reality competition

Drew Lachey has stepped off the dance floor and into the world of home improvement with his role as the host of “HGTV’s $250,000 Challenge.” When we asked how the former “Dancing with the Stars” champion got the gig, Lachey was impervious.

“I just thought it was because of my dashing good looks,” he deadpans.

Not that we don’t find Lachey as adorable as he does, but the reality show regular’s first appearance as a handyman actually dates back to when he was tooling around at his brother Nick Lachey’s mansion on MTV’s “Newlyweds.”

Back then, the two brothers were attempting to use a forklift to get arcade games into the pad Nick shared with then-wife Jessica Simpson. Who knew that one day Lachey would be hosting a show that challenges five families to renovate their homes in the hopes of winning $250,000 to drastically change their lives?

“I think the idea for this show has been around for a while, but as the country went through its changes, I think the general premise of the show has been reconfigured to reflect the times,” says Lachey.

“The people that competed in this show were all very deserving and in need of this quarter of a million dollars — whether it’s because of unemployment or their house was going to get foreclosed on, or student loans or lost equity in their home — everybody had a reason why they needed this money.”

Since Lachey has also been on the competitor side of the reality show world, he adds that his own experience helped him to bond with the cast members.
“I can definitely empathize: the pressure of being judged on something after a very short amount of time, and not really knowing exactly what you’re doing,” says Lachey.
“I think [the contestants] felt a little bit more comfortable with me because they know I’ve been through it.”

As for his own home improvement projects, Lachey says he does it all, though he’s really not a fan of grouting and tiling. And while originally he was a “read the instructions first” kind of guy, he says: “at this point, I feel pretty confident that I can just kind of wing it.”

And what’s next for the reality show pro? More reality, of course. “Hopefully, second season of ‘HGTV’s $250,000 Challenge,’” says Lachey.

“My lips to God’s ears.”