PCTV personality joins the HomeTeam
Patrick Lovell, the Park City Television personality and producer for the weekly entertainment magazine "Unplugged," the Sundance Film Festival segments "Sundance Festival After Dark" and "In The Can" recently earned a permanent seat behind the scenes as producer for the nationally syndicated show HomeTeam.
"I always felt my future would be behind the camera," he admits. "I became a host [on PCTV] by default, really I was always more of a producer."
Last August, Lovell left PCTV to join the Salt Lake City-based company LENZ-works Productions to help produce the first season of the socially-responsible reality television series HomeTeam.
The opportunity came when Lovell met LENZ-works co-founder Dan J. Debenham, the host who replaced Lovell for "In the Can," Lovell says.
In Lovell’s words, HomeTeam is an example of "good" reality TV: a program that taps local community heroes who might not have the means to purchase a home.
Lovell observes HomeTeam takes on the smaller stories to catch the nuances of deeper stories. In other words, this is not Extreme Home Makeover, a similarly-themed series which shocks an impoverished family with a grand mega-home they might not be able to pay taxes on instead, HomeTeam is "not a hand out, but a leg up," he says.
HomeTeam gives people with steady jobs and incomes though maybe with some debt to payoff a break in the current high-priced real estate market. The production company covers some of the costs, but recipients will pay most of the mortgage and taxes.
The HomeTeam homes are not mega-mansions, but conservatively priced family units. In one episode last year, the entire town of Mount Vernon, New York nominated police officer Matt Valdez for a HomeTeam house which Lovell values at just above $300,000.
Valdez, an Iraqi War veteran and an early responder to the 9/11 attacks, has a wife Stephanie and a six-month-old daughter Victoria. In the show, unbeknownst to Valdez, his friends, his fellow police officers and extended family work with professional contractors for nearly four days renovating a house.
Between takes of putting up drywall and purchasing couches, brothers, sisters-in-law and members of the community narrate Valdez’s life over family photos how he typically drives two hours from Brooklyn to work in Mount Vernon, and how he left to serve in the war on the scheduled date of his wedding to Stephanie.
Show host Troy McClain explains that HomeTeam paid the initial down payment and closing cost on the home, and also covered the renovation expenses, furniture, $2,500 in taxes and a year’s worth of mortgage payments.
Upon being presented with his surprise home, Stephanie Valdez reflects, "it was a big day it’s not every day you win a house I was extremely happy that Matt could see this is what people who do good things deserve."
Despite the fact that HomeTeam avoids the glamour of a rags-to-riches premise, large audiences appear to be tuning in to the "smaller" stories the series tells. The episode about the Valdez family was HomeTeam’s seventh show in its debut season, and was ranked number-one show in Saturday’s 7 p.m. time slot in New York City one of the world’s largest television markets, Lovell said.
"The thing about [HomeTeam] is that it’s not just about the surface," Lovell explains. "We’re capturing the spirit and the nuances of real America and it ends up being lightning in a bottle: emotionally-charged television with a cause."
For the second season, Lovell is in the process of doing the "leg work" to find recipients in Houston, Texas, he says, choosing between displaced Hurricane Katrina victims and secretaries who may have lost their life savings after Enron collapsed.
To make sure the recipient remains unaware of their pending surprise, Lovell says part of the challenge is that the team of friends and family must only be notified one week in advance.
Lovell credits the experience he received at Park City Television, behind and in front of the camera in helping him manage what he calls his new "wild experience" at LENZ-works.
"PCTV provided a great platform for me to get to the next level," he said. "HomeTeam is a big-budget TV production and a long way in scope and magnitude from my humble, yet fruitful, beginnings at PCTV."
In May, the producer plans to break from his jet-setting schedule (he travels every three weeks to shoot on location) for at least one episode, to film closer home, in Salt Lake, and is currently looking for local recipients, worthy of HomeTeam’s aid.
To find out more about HomeTeam and to nominate a recipient for Salt Lake show, visit http://www.ht-tv.com.
HomeTeam is broadcast throughout the country and on KPNZ Utah’s Channel 24 on Sundays at 5 p.m.
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