April 13, 2020
Online Originals

Family Matters

For Drew and Jonathan Scott, it’s all about helping families

Melissa Byers

When Drew and Jonathan Scott first premiered Property Brothers in May of 2011, they never dreamed it would lead to a virtual empire of shows around the globe.

Oh, they always wanted to entertain and expected to do something big, but even their dreams weren't as big as they have become.

Drew explains, "Jonathan and I as little kids I can remember when we started our first business at seven years old and we were always trying to think, 'What could we do? We love to entertain, how could we entertain people at a bigger level?'

"And we were coming up with our own plays and songs and shows and all these little things we were doing. At that time, we put it in our minds that we were going to do something big.

"We were going to see ourselves on the big screen or on TV, and in the end here looking back, our dream came true that we painted the path for ourselves, but I honestly never would've thought it would get to the scale that it is. We affect people all around the globe. We're in over 160 countries."

Twin brother Jonathan adds, "It's interesting, our team actually told us not too long ago that all of a sudden you guys are hitting your 400th episode.

"So we've helped 400 homeowners get into their dream homes, which means that we've hosted more content in this space, 400 hour long episodes, than anyone else in history in this space. So it's exciting and it feels like a lot of responsibility, but we have a hell of a lot of fun doing it."

Drew concurs, "For us it means everything. For Jonathan and me to be able to give back to families and affect people in such a positive way, it really does change their life transforming their homes. Because if you really love where you live, it affects every aspect of your life.

Drew Scott: Everyone deserves to live in a home they love, and even if we can give them a few ideas on how to stretch their budget or a way to get more function out of their home for their family, it means a lot.

"Everyone deserves to live in a home they love, and even if we can give them a few ideas on how to stretch their budget or a way to get more function out of their home for their family, it means a lot. "

They've discovered that their brand of home improvement appeals to everyone, from the young, first time homebuyer to the stars of the small screen.

Drew recalls, "I remember the first time I went to the Emmys years ago, or Jonathan and I both went, when we walked in, it was also fun to see how many of these big TV and movie stars that are exactly like everyone else out there.

"They all live somewhere and they want to live in a beautiful home that they love, and so they were picking our brains as we were walking through. And at the time we had the whole cast of Mad Men, they sort of circled us and was picking our brain about things. Yeah, it's fun to see everyone get inspired."

"Well, and you know what's exciting for us to about that is, I love the fact that not only do our our shows, and this is humble bragging here, we have some of the highest rated shows in cable, period. And a lot of times we even beat the broadcast ratings, the broadcast network rating, which means people just love this kind of programming and there's something, we do the connects.

"But knowing that so many industry members love the show, so we've got professional actors, directors, people in the industry who work in TV day in and day out, they said when they go home they're not watching another scripted show. When they go home they love watching our show."

Jonathan adds, "Yeah, that's exciting."

Since celebrities are obviously fans of the shows, the brothers are launching a new show, Celebrity IOU, which has them teaming up with celebrities to renovate a house for someone the celebrity wants to surprise.

Drew explains, "Renovating homes to give back to amazing people and these celebrities' lives, filming with Melissa McCarthy, Brad Pitt, Viola Davis, Rebel Wilson, Jeremy Renner, and Michael Bublé. It was so much fun. And to get them to see another side of it, this talent as well, was really exciting."

Jonathan Scott: For us it's always about listening to the audience, finding out what interests them, how things are changing.

And where do all these ideas for new shows come from? Jonathan says, "For us it's always about listening to the audience, finding out what interests them, how things are changing. A lot is changing in television. And if you don't adapt, you die.

"And so we're fortunate that our shows have been running for over 10 years and it's a big thing for us to make sure that we're always re-inventing and doing something new.

"We're on social media, Drew and I get half a million messages a week, each, from our audience and that's them telling us, 'Oh I love this,' or 'I'd like to see this and have you ever thought about this?'

"And so we take all of that data, we have a robust team who goes through all of that and we actually create new shows based off of what we know the audience is yearning to see."

Drew adds, "There's a lot of big companies and Fortune 500 companies who would die to have that kind of direct consumer feedback on a regular basis.

"And I think that it was the long term goal for our companies. We wanted to make sure that we were creating that connection with the audience. Because we do feel we're not celebrities but we feel like we're personalities. We're voices in everybody's household that they trust."

Another connection that is vital to the brothers is the family connection. The twins' older brother JD often appears in their shows, as do their parents, Jim and Joanne. And the family feeling extends beyond just the blood relatives.

Drew says, "You know what? Love it or hate it, we're stuck together. What I actually really love too, aside from the other families that we affect in such a positive way, is it's so awesome to be able to work with my own family. Jonathan and I work together, our older brother, JD is working with us.

"I love it. It means so much to us. And people who say family can't work together, we've proven them wrong every single day on set and our whole crew. A lot of our crew has been with us for the 10 years. It's so much fun."

About JD, Jonathan adds, "So he's actually a part of Brother versus Brother again this season. And so we're ramping up for his part and yeah, it's nice to be able to have the family all working together."

The brothers have recently taken their brand off the screen and into the pages of their new magazine, Reveal. And, once again, the impetus came from the fans.

Jonathan says, "Again, just like the shows and our team listening to our viewers, our fans. And they had been saying, 'Have you guys ever thought of doing your own magazine?'

"When you look out there and you look at amazing inspiring magazines, like what Oprah's done and a lot of what Meredith [Publishing] has done with their magazines, we said we would only do it if it was partnering with the best of the best.

"And so to have Meredith working with us, we have the reach there and our content team, our editorial team are phenomenal. So the magazine is showing people simple ways to get the most out of life. And this is all aspects of life, family, relationship, food, travel, style, wellness.

"And we've gotten amazing feedback from our fans and our readers about the type of content that we have too.

"Our philosophy is, it all starts with home. So I think having that home base, you can use that as a launching pad to anything else that you do. So Drew and I, we do believe that your home should make your life easier, but we also think that everyone deserves to have a safe, beautiful home.

"And if the magazine can inspire people to take whatever they're doing, if they're throwing a birthday party for somebody, if they're going on an adventure, traveling, who knows, whatever it is, let's show you simple steps to take it to the next level."

Drew adds, "Jonathan and I have actually had a lot of fun, too, because in the magazine we have celebrity editorials, we have everyday people. We're trying to give different types of stories to help inspire people.

"For example, in our next issue we have a sneak peek inside Jesse Tyler Ferguson's home and upcoming, when we're talking family, we have a dig into Jessica Alba and her family and we had a Kate Hudson special.

"Also, we had a connection somehow to Zooey Deschanel [Jonathan and Zooey are dating] and we had a funny moment with her where she had an epic fail, that's in the magazine."

Even with all they have going on, the Scott brothers are always working toward their next goal. Drew notes, "There's always something cooking. Right now, we're filming Brother vs Brother in LA and Property Brothers Forever Home in Vegas.

"I just launched a podcast as well. So Linda [Drew's wife] and I, it's called At Home with Linda and Drew Scott. And that's been a lot of fun too. Sort of sitting down, slowing down and having great conversations with amazing storytellers.

"Today we just launched our episode with Lamorne Morris, who is an amazing and hilarious actor. He was actually working with Zooey on New Girl and yeah, so we'll have an interview coming up next month with Jonathan and Zooey.

"We have all these amazingly talented people across different genres, athletes, music, actors. So again, trying to get more conversation that digs a little deeper with all these people."

They have no plans to stop inviting fans into their lives, although they also protect their privacy. Drew says, "I think for us, Jonathan and I, we're still very private people, but there's a lot we want to share with our fans because they really do feel like extended friends of ours.

"And I think, at the end of the day, knowing that we can really motivate people in their lives and we can inspire them in their lives, if we can show a little bit of our lives to do that, of course. I think that's amazing.

"And I think, too, for us, we've been nominated for an Emmy in the past and I think for us it really means a lot that our industry peers have also recognized what we do with our shows and how we try to give back and help families.

"It really does mean a lot. It means a lot coming from fans, but it means so much as well coming from our peers."

Their concern for the fans and the world at large is also reflected in their production practices. Jonathan notes, "We're always trying to improve our practices on the production side too. We're one of the largest producers for all of Discovery Networks.

"As far as our shows, we do 45 hours of hosted content a year, plus the repacks that we do in the added shows. So we actually have a new episode every week of the year.

In addition to that, the efficiency that we've created with our type of programming, that's why we now produce Nate and Jeremiah and a bunch of other shows too, in many different genres.

"And we're trying to also show people that you can have a green set, you can do things that are better for the environment and better for people and still make a great business out of it. So our production company has implemented green practices across all of our sets."

Drew jokes, "I'm going to change our name to the Green Brothers."

Whatever they call themselves, most of their viewers call them family, and that's just fine with Drew and Jonathan.

Celebrity IOU premieres tonight on HGTV.

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