Mike Holmes is making it right on his biggest scale yet.
The Canadian contractor and TV personality, whose personal motto promises to “make it right,” is preparing to unveil his latest renovation series, “Holmes Family Effect,” on Feb. 7 in the coveted post-Super Bowl timeslot. But it’s the platform his series is debuting on that has media watchers readjusting their own tool belts.
“Holmes Family Effect,” which debuts on Fox later this spring, marks Holmes’ debut on Canadian broadcaster CTV. Parent company Bell Media has been plotting Holmes’ splashy debut since 2019, when it announced the new partnership at its June upfront presentation. The alliance marked Holmes’ first break from HGTV Canada (owned by Bell Media competitor Corus Media) in 16 years. He first debuted on HGTV in 2003 with “Holmes on Homes.”
At HGTV Canada, Holmes starred in nine Canadian original series and specials, amassing more than 21 million Canadian viewers and solidifying his place as one of the country’s most trusted contractors. In 2018, on his 15th anniversary with the specialty station, HGTV Canada published an array of anniversary-themed content on its social and digital platforms to celebrate. When Holmes announced his Bell Media deal just a year later, it marked the surprising end of his run as the face of the home improvement channel.
According to Holmes, it was hitting that milestone anniversary that made him contemplate his future. “I was trying to do a new show, and it just didn’t go in the direction that I wanted it to go,” he recalls. “I saw an opportunity with CTV at that time. We had the conversations, and I didn’t make a change until it was 100% a deal to go. And it was either that or, is it time for me to retire?”
“Mike Holmes was an early pioneer in the home improvement genre in Canada, and contributed towards the initial success of our network,” says Lisa Godfrey, senior vice president of original content and Corus Studios and Corus Entertainment in a statement to Variety. “It’s gratifying to see Canadian lifestyle programming such as ‘Holmes Family Effect’ and our own Corus Studios properties like ‘Renovation Island’ and ‘Scott’s Vacation House Rules’ enjoy broader exposure in the U.S. market and beyond.”
At the time of the switch, Holmes sat down with former president of Bell Media Randy Lennox, as well as then-content chief Mike Cosentino, to collaborate. (Lennox stepped down from the company at the beginning of the year and current president Wade Oosterman has since led a massive company-wide restructuring in which Cosentino, many other top-level executives, and more than 200 other employees have been given the pink slip.)
Holmes’ original inclination was to eventually transition from the job site into the studio with a talk show, but then Garrett Wintrip, a writer at one of those meetings, suggested Holmes find a larger way to help communities. From that evolved his new series.
“Holmes Family Effect” follows Holmes and his children, Sherry and Michael, over four, hour-long episodes as they oversee massive, life-changing renovations within organizations and charities. In the first season, those include a school with an endangered skilled trades program, a center that supports radicalized youth, a non-profit that helps people with low incomes land new jobs, and a youth rec center in need of an overhaul.
Following its initial run on CTV, “Holmes Family Effect” will eventually air on CTV Life Channel, where Holmes’ other new Bell Media series, “Holmes 911,” debuted last summer, and where the back catalogue for “Holmes: Next Generation” is currently available. The latter series is also available on Bell Media’s streamer Crave, where “Family Effect” lands on March 12.
From a branding perspective, that’s where things may get murky.
In the U.S., Holmes is also participating in HGTV’s second season of “Rock the Block,” which means the personality will continue to appear on HGTV Canada when that series makes its debut on the specialty station later this year. Meanwhile repeats of “Holmes Inspection” air on Corus-owned broadcast station Global, and episodes of “Holmes + Holmes” are available on the Global TV App.
And then there’s the new, untitled series that Holmes is currently filming with his kids under his production banner Make It Right, which will air on HGTV in the U.S. but doesn’t currently have a Canadian broadcaster. (At time of press, neither Bell, Corus, nor Holmes’ team could confirm whether the series might fall under HGTV Canada’s output deal with HGTV U.S., although Holmes certainly remains open to “doing things” with HGTV Canada, and Bell Media reveals it will “consider all programming opportunities.”)
“Mike Holmes is such a fixture in Canadian media, but I don’t know how much he’s connected with HGTV versus he’s just such a recognizable face,” says Justin Stockman, VP of English content development and programming at Bell Media. “I’m not really concerned about [that branding] to be honest. The CTV promo machine is loud and not subtle, and there will be no doubt where you’ll find him.”
Holmes highlights that he also made the switch because he saw the value in broadcast — a consideration that was never quite front of mind years ago. “It just seemed to be the right thing that we should be on a big network and that it should be an opportunity for everyone to see,” he says.
Looking towards the future, Holmes isn’t ruling out a talk show just yet, but he’s also no longer sure how many more years of the TV game he’s got left in him.
These days, instead of having a finite end date, he’s decided to reassess his situation every two years, noting that his fans are like “Hotel California” and he doesn’t think they’ll let him go that easily. “For now I’m going to keep going,” he adds. “I’ll know when I’m done.”