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Calling all disaster DIYers

Handyman Smackdown wants a Whistler team to compete



Want to be famous? Want to be infamous? Do you know what a hammer is? No? Are there two people at home who don't know what a hammer is? Yes? Excellent. You have what it takes to be a star.

Handyman Smackdown is a new show that features a competition between some of the worst home-renovating duos in the country. Each team, made up of people living together, will be mentored by professionals and the overall winner will walk away with a "hefty" cash prize. Nine one-hour episodes will be televised in 2015.

Producers Proper Television would like to feature a couple from Whistler or the Sea to Sky region, says casting director Meredith Vests.

"What we found is that there are a lot of people out there who want to fix up their houses themselves, they don't want to spend money, they don't want to find a contractor, they don't want to be forced to rely on a contractor, so they take matters into their own hands," Vests says.

"The only problem is they don't have the skills to back up the ambition. People want to do things themselves. We found a need for that. Although there are tons of shows for this, there isn't anything for the beginner DIYer."

Vests says they are putting out an open call for applicants, but hope to hear from those interested as soon as possible at www.badhandyman.ca.

Previously, Proper Television produced Canada's Worst Handyman, which ran for six seasons, along with Canada's Worst Driver.

"We also ran Masterchef, which is also about learning and the journey, the passion for learning. Handyman Smackdown is the culmination of a lot of other shows that we've done," Vests says.

From these shows the company learned that there was still a need for information "because weekend warriors and do-it-yourselfers would send in emails asking for Canada's Worst Handyman to come back. The new show is different... there is nothing quite like this on TV," Vests says.

"In B.C. and Alberta there's not enough good people to do the work, even if you're willing to pay up. It's hard to find good contractors... and it's really fulfilling to pull off a project."

So why Whistler? Are we a bright light in the DIY universe?

"One thing about Whistler is that there are so many second homes and cottages that people have to maintain on their own. People really do have to learn to maintain things on their own. We think there will be some perfect candidates for the show."

Vests says TV viewers find reality shows compelling because they can connect with the participants. "It's the relatability. People watch and think, 'I've been there. I've gone to the hardware store 15 times for the same part. I think I can change a toilet'... and then it turns into a disaster," she says.

"The other thing is that it's a unique show in that each team is a couple. We're bringing together partners in crime, whether husband and wife, brother and sister. Someone who lives in the home with them... if you've ever tried to hang wallpaper with your significant other you can see why that could make for very entertaining television."

The tension and conflict is great when you see it, Vests adds. "This show is all about learning and we have experts who teach the teams along the way," she says.

Filming is due to take place in September and October.

"Whoever is selected for the show, we fly them out to beautiful cottage country in Ontario," she says. "But first we will come out to Whistler and meet people, and see some of the evidence of their handiwork."