×

Ed Begley Jr. Inks Pact for Eco-Home Series with Internet Startup Evox Television

Thesp's "On Begley Street" documenting enviro-friendly refurbish project to bow Sept. 15 on Internet-only network

Thesp and environmentalist Ed Begley Jr. signed pact with startup Evox Television to produce and star in an Internet-only series documenting his quest to build the greenest house in North America.

“On Begley Street” follows Begley and wife Rachelle Carson-Begley (pictured, above) with their teenage daughter Hayden on their quest to erect a 3,800-sq.-ft. house in Studio City, Calif., that will be fully off the grid with a 10,000-kilowatt solar-powered electrical system, rainwater-collection tank and gray-water recycling system.

“This show is about efficiency and saving money, and getting with the program in 2013,” said Ed Begley Jr.

UDPATE: An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported that Evox had given Begley $17 million upfront to produce the series. That figure was provided by Evox CEO Xavier Dubois, who said he was making a joke; the exaggerated number was “meant to be taken as a joke especially given the content deals in the Internet TV market right now,” he says. Financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed.

The Begleys bought the previous house on the 11,000-sq.-ft. lot for $1.08 million last year — and discovered that because of damage to the infrastructure and their desire to outfit it with economically sustainable features they would need to rebuild it from the ground up. Begley said the new design is aimed at meeting the highest level of certification (platinum) under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program for green buildings, homes and neighborhoods developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.

“The question we’re trying to answer is: Are you coming out ahead by tearing down an old house?” he said.

“On Begley Street” will bow Sept. 15, with new eps to run weekly, in an initial run of nine segments each less than 10 minutes. Guest appearances include Bill Nye the Science Guy, Jeff Goldblum, Sharon Lawrence and Jason Mraz. Filming took place over the last year and is skedded to continue through house’s completion and beyond.

Begley previously starred in enviro-themed “Living With Ed” reality skein, which premiered on HGTV in 2007 and then moved to Discovery’s short-lived Planet Green cabler in 2009.

With Evox, “we thought this was the right place for this show because we’d have the most control, the widest reach,” Begley said, adding, “The cable networks were not really interested in this show.”

One challenge for cable nets with respect to green-themed programming is that they’re leery of running TV shows that might offend advertisers, according to Begley. Another issue: Such content may be too niche-oriented and haven’t garnered big auds.

But San Francisco-based Evox Television claims there’s a large and growing audience for content about “LOHAS,” or lifestyles of health and sustainability. Startup has a blended biz model that includes the ad-supported online television network, a retail marketplace and a social community.

“We empower global change through social media programming, and using retail and conscious capitalism,” Dubois said. Like home-shopping nets like QVC and HSN, “we are pulling in hopefully a lot of people who purchase sustainable products… This market is willing to pay a little bit more for products from vendors with responsible practices.”

Evox’s content currently is available worldwide on its website and via Roku Internet set-tops. By end of August, Dubois said, Evox will be streaming on additional devices including Apple TV, Microsoft’s Xbox 360, Samsung Smart TVs, as well as Apple iOS and Android mobile devices and tablets. All told, Evox will be accessible on 33 million devices in the U.S. and 87 million devices worldwide (not including PCs).

For “On Begley Street,” Evox extended Begley and the company creating the series, Make It Happen Productions, an upfront budget plus additional revenue-sharing opportunities. Begley said he expects to launch a store on Evox’s website stocked with products from companies he already does biz with.

Thesp Raphael Sbarge, a friend of Begley’s, is exec producer for the skein. “The thing that’s delightful about Rachelle and Ed together is that it’s funny and informative. You’re not forced to eat your broccoli,” Sbarge said.

Show could expand into longer format as Begleys move into the new green home, Sbarge said. Eventually, concept for “On Begley Street” is to moprh into show covering construction of eco-friendly homes around the world.

The Begley family is hoping to move into the house sometime in 2014. The new home reuses 96% of the materials of the previous structure, which was dismantled by hand — one brick and board at a time, according to Ed. “We don’t know what the refurbish will cost,” he said. “But it is going to be a tidy sum.”

Overall, Evox has 200 hours of programming, some of it not launched yet, including reality, comedy and drama, as well as talkshows, docus and cooking shows. Startup expects to let community members share user-generated content as well. Featured brands in the Evox Store include Vitamix, ToGoBrands, Mrs. Myers and Earth’s Baby Best.

Evox (pronounced “evokes”) has 22 full-time employees. Startup is backed by Dubois — who has worked as a software developer at database company FileMaker and media companies including Fox, FX and FearNet — and other investors including Maurice Kanbar, entrepreneur behind Skyy Vodka. According to Dubois, Evox currently is seeking additional outside funding.

Popular on Variety

More Biz

  • Barron HiltonBarron Hilton 1990

    Famed Hotelier Barron Hilton Dies at 91

    Barron Hilton, a famed hotelier who helped expand the Hilton Hotels empire and a founding owner of the Chargers NFL football team, has died, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation announced. He was 91. “Today the world of hospitality mourns for one of the greats. Barron Hilton was an incredible family man, business leader and philanthropist. [...]

  • Patrick Whitesell and Ari Emanuel WME

    Endeavor Targets Sept. 27 for Stock Debut, IPO Video Tells Company's Origin Story

    After years of preparation, Endeavor is set to make its formal Wall Street debut on Sept. 27, when its stock will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Endeavor has targeted Sept. 26 for the final pricing of its shares. The stock will trade publicly the following day. Earlier this week, Endeavor said its [...]

  • Netflix - Apple TV

    Netflix Stock Drops After CEO Acknowledges 'Tough Competition' Coming From Disney, Apple

    Netflix shares fell as much as 7% Friday to a nine-month low, coming after CEO Reed Hastings commented that the November launches of Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus will introduce a “whole new world” of competition. Hastings, speaking at the Royal Television Society conference Friday in Cambridge, England, said, “While we’ve been competing with [...]

  • Charlie Rose Sexual Harassment

    Charlie Rose Sued for Sexual Harassment by Longtime Makeup Artist

    A makeup artist who worked for Charlie Rose for 22 years has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit, accusing the former CBS and PBS host of years of unlawful behavior toward female employees. Gina Riggi alleges that Rose was verbally abusive with her and would often make derogatory comments about her weight. She also alleges that [...]

  • Rob Stringer

    Sony Music Chief Rob Stringer on Sustaining Growth and Recovering From the 'Dark Times'

    The Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference, now in its 28th year, gives top executives at major companies the opportunity to make their case to investors — and the Goldman analysts the opportunity to keep things on the up and up. While the analysts don’t necessarily grill the executives, they don’t lob softball questions either. That was [...]

  • Frank Grillo'Avengers: Endgame' Film Premiere, Arrivals,

    Matt Phelps Tapped as President of Joe Carnahan, Frank Grillo's Warparty

    Frank Grillo and Joe Carnahan’s Warparty productikon banner has appointed Matt Phelps president of the company. Phelps will head the Los Angeles office and be responsible for overseeing all film and television projects. “We searched long and hard to find the right fit for Warparty and felt that Matt embodied everything that we were looking [...]

  • Jack Gilardi, Longtime ICM Partners Agent,

    Jack Gilardi, Longtime ICM Partners Agent, Dies at 88

    Jack Gilardi, a longtime ICM Partners agent who represented such stars as Burt Reynolds, Sylvester Stallone, Jerry Lewis, Charlton Heston and Shirley MacLaine, died Thursday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 88. Gilardi was known for his gentlemanly style, love of the Los Angeles Dodgers and his skill at representing top actors. He [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content