Bob Vila

Host


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his one-and-a-half-hour Archive interview, television host and "grandfather of home improvement" Bob Vila discusses growing up in Miami and Havana, studying architecture in college and graduate school, and serving in the Peace Corps before starting his own business renovating brownstones and converting them into condominiums. He describes his unintentional foray into television as the featured guest on the local Boston show House Calls -- a program that soon morphed into This Old House and aired nationally on PBS with Vila as host. He explains how the program was a natural pairing of his passion for restoration and construction and his easy-going demeanor. Vila details his departure from This Old House, the creation of his own program, Bob Vila's Home Again, and shares his thoughts on Home Improvemen t - a television sitcom that may have been based on Mr. Vila himself. Karen Herman conducted the interview in New York City on June 10, 2010.  

"From the point of view of the personality coming into your living room, I think I've always had the ability to help people just kind of kick back and relax and listen. Or watch. I've been approachable and the subject matter has been well received. I think that's one of the most important things."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Bob Vila on his childhood fascination with buildings
Bob Vila on being telegenic and creating This Old House
Bob Vila on advice to people renovating their homes
Bob Vila on his longevity in television
Bob Vila on being the forefather of home improvement shows
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood and living in Havana for 3 years; on his early influences
On college; on serving in the Peace Corps; on rekindling his interest in architecture, pursuing a graduate degree and starting R.J. Vila Design Build
On getting into television and the beginnings of This Old House
On the first episode of This Old House; on going national on PBS and the production schedule
On being forced out of This Old House; on creating his own show, Bob Vila's Home Again; on partnering with Sears Craftsman Tools
On the contractors at This Old House and his favorite projects on the show; on television parodies of This Old House

Chapter 2

On Bob Vila's Home Again and its middle class target audience; on traveling for the program
On losing Sears as a sponsor and changing the title of the show to Bob Vila
On the projects that meant the most to him; on Bob Vila going off the air 
On going green; on serving as a correspondent for Today and The CBS Early Show
On bobvila.com; on Home Improvement; on (then) current projects and advice to home renovators and to aspiring television hosts; on how he'd like to be remembered
Shows

Bob Vila's Home Again

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Bob Vila on starting his program Bob Vila's Home Again
Bob Vila on Bob Vila's Home Again
Bob Vila on renaming the show Bob Vila after Sears pulled out as a sponsor

CBS Early Show, The

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Bob Vila on serving as a correspondent for Today and The CBS Early Show

Extreme Makeover

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Bob Vila on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

Home Improvement

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Bob Vila on guest starring on Home Improvement

In Living Color

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Bob Vila on parodies of This Old House on Saturday Night Live and In Living Color

Saturday Night Live

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Bob Vila on parodies of This Old House on Saturday Night Live and In Living Color

This Old House

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Bob Vila on the beginnings of This Old House
Bob Vila on promoting green methods of construction

Today

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Bob Vila on serving as a correspondent for Today and The CBS Early Show
Topics

Fame and Celebrity

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Bob Vila on losing his anonymity 
Bob Vila on his fan mail

Technological Innovation

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Bob Vila on new media

Television Industry

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Bob Vila on losing his anonymity 
Professions

Hosts

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Bob Vila on advice he was given for hosting This Old House
Bob Vila on making others feel at ease in front of the camera
Bob Vila on being telegenic and creating This Old House
Bob Vila on advice to aspiring hosts
Genres

Service Shows

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Bob Vila on his first home improvement show, This Old House
Bob Vila on his home improvement show, Bob Vila's Home Again
Bob Vila on Bob Vila's Home Again and Bob Vila
People

Tim Allen

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Bob Vila on guest starring on Home Improvement

Katie Couric

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Bob Vila on serving as a correspondent for Today and The CBS Early Show

Bryant Gumbel

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Bob Vila on serving as a correspondent for Today and The CBS Early Show

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