Jenny Toste and Katie Williamson want to help property owners in the central San Joaquin Valley make their renovation dreams come true while showcasing the talent of local artists, businesses and products.
Nearly two years ago, the two – they are friends who work at Fresno State – came up with an idea for a home renovation reality show called “Realty Rescue” that would combine their passions: Showing off things that make Fresno great and helping people pursue their dreams.
The concept is similar to HGTV’s popular “Fixer Upper” show featuring married couple Chip and Joanna Gaines, who own Magnolia Homes, a construction company in Waco, Texas. The show propelled the couple to fame and helped transform the city into a tourist destination.
“We know a lot of organizations, businesses and artists that make (Fresno) special,” said Toste, a former reporter for CBS47 (KGPE) and KSEE24. “When we saw the impact ‘Fixer Upper’ made on Waco, we thought, wouldn’t it be great to do a TV show here?”
The pilot for the show debuts at 5:30 p.m. Saturday on KMPH (Channel 26.1). Toste and Williamson bring in Fresno contractors Daniel Dimauro and Jason Sturdevant of Sierra Contractors to renovate Jane Tamberi’s kitchen in the Sierra foothills. Property owners pay for the renovations. Toste and Williamson help owners work with the contractors on their design or vision for the space.
Tamberi wanted an old Tuscany-themed kitchen with dark wood cabinets and light-colored granite countertops. A farmhouse sink and larger center island were installed along with a new stove that has double ovens, a slate backsplash and a custom copper hood made by a local artist, Toste said. And there is a special surprise for the homeowner at the end of the show.
The women hope the show will be picked up by a network or locally. They plan to start filming again in January, with Floodgate Productions in Fresno, to produce at least eight episodes that may include the renovation of a Visalia historic home and a Fresno business. The show will tackle real estate topics like loans, buying and selling a home and staging.
“We’re not a cookie-cutter show,” Williamson said. “We can do anything.”
The long-term goal is to open a warehouse along Highway 99, similar to the Gaines’ Magnolia Market at the Silos, where shoppers from across California can buy Fresno produce and locally-made items.
For more information or to get involved, visit realtyrescuetv.com.