HGTV's Own Brian Balthazar Just Might Be The
Hardest Working Man In Show Business!
When I think of Brian Balthazar, I think of the iconic phrase, “the hardest working man in show business.” Brian certainly fits that bill and he does so with unyielding enthusiasm, honed instinct, intelligence, and a smile. Is it any wonder HGTV welcomed Brian back home as Vice President of Programming and Development one year ago this month. It’s an anniversary every HGTV fan should be celebrating as everybody wins.
The founder of POPgoesTHEWEEK.com, whose long list of successes include serving as Co-Executive producer of The View, spearheading the fourth hour of the TODAY Show with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb, leading the emergence and continued success of ‘House Hunters’ and ‘House Hunters International’ as Programming Director (HGTV), becoming a spokesperson for Ford Motor Company, and sitting next to Wendy Williams, regularly, to discuss pop culture and entertainment on The Wendy Williams Show.
Impressed yet? Most anyone would be, until they realize the rest of Brian’s accomplishments. Succinctly put, Brian Balthazar is a Renaissance man whose proficiency, both on and off camera, arises from a naturally optimistic demeanor combined with a highly developed sense of humor and passion that keeps him reaching, growing, and laughing. Whether it be entertaining audiences as a stand-up comic, reporting on hot topics for MSNBC or figuring out how to make a hit television series for HGTV even better, Brian steps out of his comfort zone regularly.
When he’s not giving HGTV’s audience, yet, another reason to love HGTV’s shows, Brian is out-and-about renovating his own property with his partner and his pooch. A regular guy who is anything but ‘regular,’ Brian Balthazar is an endearing, wise, and positive personality that reminds you that anything is possible as long as you are willing to “believe, try, and not take yourself (or life) too seriously.”
Enjoy getting to know the “man who can” in the interview below. His is an interview that will have you adding to your own bucket list of bright ideas, flavored with limitless motivation and enthusiasm.
What is your personal mantra?
Nothing is too good to be true. Nothing is too wonderful to happen. And nothing is too good to last.
You have had an enormously interesting and varied career? If I asked you to identify the “big” break which you attribute to where you are today, what would that be? Or would you attribute your success more to a series of “little” breaks.
Little breaks, of which, I am enormously grateful for. As I entered television during a time period when more risks were being taken, many people took ‘chances’ on me, which allowed me to establish myself more quickly than I would have otherwise.
You’ve created some of the most widely loved programming (especially by women) on some of the most highly-regarded and viewed networks. Share with me the process ‘within’ whereby you know a hunch will be a hit?
This may sound odd, but “I learned to watch television from a woman’s perspective.” My mom (whom I’ve always been close with) taught me this. Thus, doing so helps me to understand what will work for female viewers. Another lense I rely on includes stepping-back from a show and deciding whether or not, I actually, would want to spend time watching it.
You are hardly afraid of trying new things and you seem to land on your feet when you do. How do you view “fear” in your life? Where does this view derive from?
I will never jump out of a plane. At the same time, I believe, “If you leap, the net will present itself.” “Fear” is healthy and should be respected. It shouldn’t, however, stand in your way. Truthfully, I’ve had successes and failures. Luckily, the many friendships and relationships I’ve established along the way have helped me through.
What is your Achilles heel? What element in your personality, do you believe, keeps you from tripping over it and moving forward?
I sometimes become paralyzed in creating and bringing to fruition my own dreams. It is easier for me to direct others. Ultimately, “if you want it and are willing to do the work, anything is possible.”
What’s missing in television today?
We are in a really great time for television, especially scripted television. I feel extremely proud of the programming we offer on HGTV, DIY and GAC. It speaks ‘quality entertainment’ on every level. My personal opinion is that too many shows today are derived solely for the purpose of ‘grabbing attention.” I find that to be unfortunate.
Do you feel that television will ever go the way of the dinosaur, in lieu of the emergence and rapid growth of digital entertainment?
Television will take on new forms but we will always have a big screen on the wall. The shared experience of television will never go out of style.
What is your favorite show, outside of anything you have current ties to?
“Downton Abbey” is the first that comes to mind.
What would be your dream job outside of entertainment or media?
I’d renovate homes, professionally as oppose to the hobby it’s become for me. I live the HGTV brand. I also make a damn good cocktail.
Share a social cause or cause-based organization you support or are involved in, either directly or indirectly.
North Shore Animal League of North America. I sometimes host events for them and more. I love the people there and I am a huge animal lover. I also support Rolling Dog Farm, located in New Hampshire. They take care of abused or injured animals, most of which remain unadoptable because of the extent of the care they require.
When all is said and done, how would you like to be remembered?
I hope I am remembered as a good person who made people laugh and helped when he could.
Just as he did throughout our conversation and this interview, Brian Balthazar makes everything seem so simple. It’s a genius and skill that evades most, I assure you. We are fortunate to be able to enjoy his through HGTV – one of those rare cases where “like meets like” and it, undoubtedly, shows!