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 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 (which then became Bob Vila after he lost Sears Craftsman Tools as a sponsor), and shares his thoughts on Home Improvement - 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 guest-starring on Home Improvement and whether or not the show is based on him
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 early influences; on living in Havana for three years; on being an adventurous kid; on his interest in architecture
On his education and interest in journalism; on serving in the Peace Corps; on rekindling his interest in architectural history and restoration, 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 the show
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; on watching This Old House after he left the show and what he wanted to differently on Bob Vila's Home Again

Chapter 2

On Bob Vila's Home Again and its middle class target audience; on traveling for the program, 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 promoting green methods of construction; on serving as a correspondent for Today and The CBS Early Show
On bobvila.com; on Home Improvement; on then-current projects, advice to home renovators, and advice to aspiring television hosts; on how he'd like to be remembered
Shows

Bob Vila

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Bob Vila on the last three seasons of Bob Vila
Bob Vila on the Bob Vila show that was most personal to him
Bob Vila on why Bob Vila went off the air in 2007

Bob Vila's Home Again

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Bob Vila on the beginning of his association with Sears Craftsman Tools and starting Bob Vila's Home Again
Bob Vila on watching This Old House after he left the show and what he wanted to differently on Bob Vila's Home Again
Bob Vila on Bob Vila's Home Again and its middle class target audience; on the involvement of the sponsor (Sears Craftsman Tools) on the program
Bob Vila on differences between This Old House and Bob Vila's Home Again and the projects he did on Bob Vila's Home Again
Bob Vila on shows he wanted to do on Bob Vila's Home Again; on budgets, failures, and audience feedback
Bob Vila on changing the title of Bob Vila's Home Again to 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 and whether or not the show is based on him

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 and the original pilot for what would become This Old House
Bob Vila on early production on This Old House
Bob Vila on his role as host on the first This Old House and the format of the show
Bob Vila on the intended audience and actual audience of This Old House
Bob Vila on This Old House going national on PBS and on losing his anonymity
Bob Vila on how houses were selected for This Old House
Bob Vila on the title and theme music for This Old House
Bob Vila on a typical week shooting This Old House for PBS and ad-libbing on the show
Bob Vila on Dick Holden, the cameraman for This Old House
Bob Vila on the editing on This Old House and how editing changed when his shows went from PBS to commercial television; on how structured the PBS show was
Bob Vila on his role being limited to host of This Old House as the show went on, and being forced out of the show after ten seasons; on the beginning of his association with Sears Craftsman Tools and starting Bob Vila's Home Again
Bob Vila on the craftspeople he worked with on This Old House
Bob Vila on favorite projects on This Old House
Bob Vila on This Old House being the first TV show of its kind and the show's influence
Bob Vila on parodies of This Old House on Saturday Night Live and In Living Color
Bob Vila on This Old House being groundbreaking
Bob Vila on watching This Old House after he left the show and what he wanted to differently on Bob Vila's Home Again
Bob Vila on differences between This Old House and Bob Vila's Home Again
Bob Vila on promoting green methods of construction on This Old House

Today

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

Advertising and Sponsorship

View Topic
Bob Vila on his role being limited to host of This Old House as the show went on, and being forced out of the show after ten seasons; on the beginning of his association with Sears Craftsman Tools and starting Bob Vila's Home Again
Bob Vila on Bob Vila's Home Again and its middle class target audience; on the involvement of the sponsor (Sears Craftsman Tools) on the program
Bob Vila on Bob Vila's Home Again and its middle class target audience; on the involvement of the sponsor (Sears Craftsman Tools) on the program
Bob Vila on changing the title of Bob Vila's Home Again to Bob Vila after Sears pulled out as a sponsor
Bob Vila on changing the title of Bob Vila's Home Again to Bob Vila after Sears pulled out as a sponsor

Advice

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Bob Vila on advice he was given for hosting This Old House
Bob Vila on advice to aspiring hosts

Fame and Celebrity

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

New Media

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Bob Vila on bobvila.com and his internet presence

Pop Culture

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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 bobvila.com and his internet presence

Television Industry

View Topic
Bob Vila on losing his anonymity 
Bob Vila on his role being limited to host of This Old House as the show went on, and being forced out of the show after ten seasons; on the beginning of his association with Sears Craftsman Tools and starting Bob Vila's Home Again
Bob Vila on advice he was given for hosting This Old House
Bob Vila on advice to aspiring hosts
Bob Vila on bobvila.com and his internet presence
Professions

Hosts

View Profession
Bob Vila on being telegenic and creating This Old House
Bob Vila on his role as host on the first This Old House and 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 advice to aspiring hosts

Interviewer

View Profession
Bob Vila on his role as host on the first This Old House and advice he was given for hosting This Old House
Genres

Comedy Series

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Bob Vila on guest-starring on Home Improvement and whether or not the show is based on him

Service Shows

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

Norm Abram

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Bob Vila on the craftspeople he worked with on This Old House - Norm Abram

Tim Allen

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Bob Vila on guest-starring on Home Improvement

Fidel Castro

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Bob Vilia on living in Cuba for three years and returning to the United States after Castro's revolution

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

Dick Holden

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Bob Vila on Dick Holden, the cameraman for This Old House

Russell Morash

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Bob Vilia on WGBH producer Russell Morash wanting to produce This Old House
Bob Vila on the title and theme music for This Old House
Bob Vila on the editing on This Old House

All Interviews

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