Mr. T to Wield Sledgehammer for DIY Home-Renovation Series

Mr. T Wield Sledgehammer DIY Home-Renovation

Mr. T pities the fool who doesn’t know the first thing about home renovation.

“You can’t just knock down everything. There might be electrical wiring. There might be a gap open,” he cautioned in a recent phone interview. “You have to take your time. You have to scout things out. If you do the wrong thing, it’s going to be a disaster.”

Once known as one of Hollywood’s tough guys, the one-time bouncer and mohawked member of TV’s “The A-Team” will show a tender side as he helps people in need of redoing kitchens and living rooms as part of a new show on Scripps Networks’ DIY. Mr. T’s “I Pity the Tool” is the latest in a growing series of programs on the cable network that place celebrities in the midst of tricky home repairs and remodels.

Daryl Hall, Vanilla Ice and William Shatner are among the famous folk who have come to DIY to show off their skills in taking homes apart and rebuilding them. And the network has good reason to supplement fare like “Rescue Renovation” and “Rehab Addict,” said Kathleen Finch, president of Scripps’ home-category networks HGTV, DIY and Great American Country. “We are bringing people to the network for reasons other than just watching a demolition or a construction project,” she said.

The celebrity method has popped up in other parts of the Scripps empire as well. Valerie Bertinelli has been spotted in Food Network’s daytime lineup, while programming featuring rapper Rev Run and actress Jennie Garth has been featured on DIY or HGTV. Scripps has gained a reputation for turning chefs and home-arts experts into stars, but the company has also realized it stands to gain by making use of people whose fame is already established.

When viewers tune in Mr. T’s new program, the first episode of which is slated to debut in 2015, they will also get something else: a sentimental tale. The pilot will show Mr. T helping out an old associate, a man whom Mr. T visited when the guy was a teenager and had broken his neck while playing in the snow (the man is back on his feet again, with a large family). Future episodes, slated for 2016, are expected to also show Mr. T lending a hand to people who need it, like military veterans or people going through hard times.

“I am tough, but deep inside my toughness, I like to let people know I’m an old-fashioned mama’s boy,” said Mr. T, who has spent recent years working on commercials, a short-lived reality series on Viacom’s TV Land and a book. “I have a heart of gold, but I’m really a marshmallow in my heart.”

Scripps and DIY are set to unveil the series as part of the company’s presentation for the upfront market, when U.S. TV networks try to sell the bulk of their advertising for the coming programming season. DIY’s celebrity series, Finch said, helped the network grow ratings among its target audience, adults 25-54, more than 8% in 2014.

“These people have built-in fanbases that come to see their heroes do things that they didn’t really know they could,” she said.

Mr. T’s route to “I Pity the Tool” was not direct. The head of Michael Group, the production company behind the program that is represented by APA, had been an ardent fan of Mr. T — and even had her picture taken with him when she was a child. The executive, Michael Weber, ran into Mr. T in Chicago, and the two agreed on the concept. Eventually, Mr. T ended up getting busy with a hard hat, sledgehammer and overalls to make a sizzle reel for TV executives. “You have to tear down before you can build up,” said Mr. T.

The man who played Clubber Lang in “Rocky III” said he worked demolition jobs before making it big in movies and TV. He learned brick masonry and cabinetmaking in high school, he recalled: “I was hands-on.”

Just as he did in his mid-1980s Saturday-morning cartoon show, Mr. T will have a team helping him in his endeavors. In “I Pity the Tool,” assistance will come in the form of Tiffany Brooks, an interior designer and an “HGTV Design Star” winner.

The series has not yet been scheduled officially for 2016, said Finch, because the network needs to determine how much time is necessary to produce episodes. Each renovation has its own peculiar timeline, she noted, and Scripps typically waits until projects are complete before determining the course of a series, and even the number of episodes appropriate for it. For similar reasons, she said, DIY needs to wait to determine if enough material exists to warrant additional cycles.

In 2014, DIY launched “The Shatner Project,” in which William Shatner, the star of series such as “T.J. Hooker” and the original “Star Trek,” remodeled his home, along with his wife, Elizabeth. But a second season didn’t seem to make sense, said Finch. ”We don’t want to milk something to death,” she said. “We want to make an event of our celebrity programming.”

As Mr. T himself is fond of saying, “Enough jibber jabber.” Viewers will want to see him get to work before making a final decision about the show.

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  1. Sunny Woods says:

    Dear Mr.T my name is Mr.Sunny Woods,the reason why I am writing you this letter,is because I need your help with my house its really needs some Mr.T’s help. I’m trying to

    ↑↑↑do it myself but its to much, plus I really don’t quite know what I am doing. It is so much to do to this house an no money or bank nor friend to help me. I live here in Benton Harbor Michigan where there’s no resources but Social Service and they already help me.I really thank them a lot. Mr.T please help me with my home . I don’t know who to turn to.↓

    Sincerely yours
    Sunny Woods
    PS.Thank you an GOD Bless.

    • Sunny Woods says:

      Dear Mr.T my name is Mr.Sunny Woods,the reason why I am writing you this letter,is because I need your help with my house its really needs some Mr.T’s help. I’m trying to

      ↑↑↑do it myself but its to much, plus I really don’t quite know what I am doing. It is so much to do to this house an no money or bank nor friend to help me. I live here in Benton Harbor Michigan where there’s no resources but Social Service and they already help me.I really thank them a lot. Mr.T please help me with my home . I don’t know who to turn to.↓

      Sincerely yours
      Sunny Woods
      PS.Thank you an GOD Bless.

  2. Please come see if you can help an old man add two rooms to our home in Indianapolis In. Where everyone want more than the house is worth to give us room for our grandkids to have room to stay with us …please reply not asking for free bees but something reasonable…thank you retired and not dead yet….

  3. I’m trying to look for help from Mr T I’m 45 year old man that my bones are deteriorating day my name it’s getting harder for me to get around and do stuff in my house I need doors lighting and handicap bathroom and I really needed that can go off my house I need well I got one I need a brand new one was around cuz I have missed doctors appointments because I could not get off my deck so please use this story can get some rest your chi or DIY renovation so they can tell Mr T I would really really appreciate his help you can reach me I left the other news on Facebook or otherwise I really appreciate it god bless love you all

  4. hi Mr T the first red belt I am handicapped and I bought a house in Las Vegas Nevada and I’m having problems in and remodeling my home I need doors widen a bathroom remodel for handicap cuz I feel better getting in and out of the tub should have heard from you when my bones are deteriorating and plus I need to wrap some built on my deck plus I need a new deck built custom electric scooter it’s too heavy for the deck I have to write next to the house so I get to the homemade ramp that somebody made should go down on it now that ranch that they made is falling apart its good and you scary I cannot get not hardly walk so please I’m asking for help if you can help me I really would appreciate it cuz I really really need it and it would be grateful if you would like I said I need doors and doors whiten a bathroom remodeled for handicapped tub and handicap accessible and I need a new deck put on my house so I can ride my electric scooter to my car to go to doctors appointments I’ve had to miss a few a doctors appointment cuz my deck is really scary to drive across and I have to do some walking and it hurts me to walk up and down the hallways so I’d really appreciate if you can help me and I want to thank you Mr T and DIYand I want to say to Mr T your new show is not like the a team the ATM was the bomb specially when you had to put up with Murdoch okay so you guys have a good one and I want to thank you all god be with you god bless you bye bye

  5. bob says:

    I’ve never seen a show so awful.. He obviously knows nothing about home improvement work…

  6. Debra Gaston says:

    I watch the interveiw with MT last night an i would like to tell my story you can contact me. i lost me Dad my 2 Dogs in a apt fire its a year now an im haveing a hardship big time mabey you can help me i walked away with nothing every thing we ever owned in my life is gone my grand daughter an daughter lived with me an all of her things are gone to my father was a world war 2.vet

  7. I wish I could get a home makeover. Thanks

  8. Barbara Williams says:

    I wish I could get a home makeover. I spent 14 months in prison for something I was later cleared of, I bought me a house it needs a lot of work but I’m a disabled vetearn & live on a fixed income. I loved watching the A-Team & Mr. T was mine & my kids favorite what an honor that would be.

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