The Watchman: HGTV Holiday Special a ‘Bunch’ of Fun; ‘Lampoon’ Goes Back to the Future

Senior content producer Michael Malone’s look at the programming scene
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After the swashbuckling success of A Very Brady Renovation, HGTV airs A Very Brady Renovation: Holiday Edition Dec. 16. The six Brady siblings work with Jasmine Roth of Hidden Potential and Ree Drummond of Food Network’s The Pioneer Woman to deck the halls of the Brady house with vintage holiday cheer. A Very Brady Renovation ran for four episodes in September and was HGTV’s highest-rated series ever in several categories. A gaggle of HGTV talent, including Jonathan and Drew Scott, helped turn the North Hollywood house whose exterior was shot in The Brady Bunch back into the Brady house we recall so fondly.

'A Very Brady Renovation'

'A Very Brady Renovation'

HGTV even makes it snow in Hollywood. “[Maureen McCormick] went running for it like a little kid,” said Loren Ruch, group senior VP, programming and development, HGTV, of the ersatz precip. “Her enthusiasm was contagious.”

Ornaments came from a superfan. They’re mementos from show history, including the vase and the basketball that broke it (“Mom always said … !”), that iconic staircase and the tiki that brought the Bradys bad luck in Hawaii.

One family won a contest to live in the Brady house for a week. On New Year’s Day, HGTV refreshes the Renovation episodes, with the six Bradys offering their viewpoints of the rebuild, and clips from the contest winners in the home.

HGTV paid $3.5 million for the house, and it was worth every penny. “There’s no value you can place on the emotional impact” of putting the Bradys back in their home, said Ruch.

The National Lampoon Radio Hour podcast premieres Dec. 19. National Lampoon Radio Hour debuted in 1973 and featured a few comics who went on to be household names, including John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Gilda Radner and Bill Murray.

'National Lampoon Radio Hour'

'National Lampoon Radio Hour'

The podcast will have 11 episodes. National Lampoon president Evan Shapiro thinks the current crop of comics could impact our nation the way the previous crew did. They include Cole Escola, Jo Firestone, Brett Davis and Alex English. “We found what we consider the next class, the rightful torchbearers of that generation of comics,” he said. “They’re as reflective of our times as that group was.”

Guests include Amy Sedaris, Jordan Klepper, Rachel Dratch and Chris Gethard. The National Lampoon Radio Hour won’t touch much on politics, as so many other comedy outlets are doing. The show is a satire of America and Americans, said Shapiro, and our various obsessions. “The target is us,” he added.

Might this lead to a TV series? “We do the work we think is best on the platform we think it’s best for,” said Shapiro. “I think it could conceivably be a television show.”

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