Christian Living


Home Free: A Show with Hammers and Heart



Thursdays, beginning June 16th at 9 pm ET on FOX


Tim Tebow, Mike Holmes

Find out more about Home Free at FOX-TV

Chris Carpenter - Director of Internet Programming

DALLAS, Georgia -- A symphony of hammers and saws permeate a recent glorious afternoon in the hot Georgia sun.  Without a cloud in sight, workmen scurry to and fro in their quest to finish framing a house, one of nearly a dozen they will finish over the next 10 weeks.

However, there is something quite different happening today in this sleepy remote corner of western Georgia. The job site has been buzzing since dawn, a frenzy of bright lights, high-end television cameras, and an army of people wearing headsets calling out jargon that seems vaguely familiar but mostly unclear.  To be clear, this is not your average residential job site; it’s the set for season two of the FOX television series, Home Free.

Based on the modest success of season one, Home Free’s producers were not content to rest on FOX’s splash into home improvement programming.  While season one found couples competing to win a dream home they renovated, season two finds contestants actually building an entire neighborhood of dream homes from the ground up … but with a twist.

“Season one was a wonderful experience for me,” shares co-host Mike Holmes.  “Giving homes to deserving families, that’s a real feel good story.  Season two is a big change because it’s not about doing it for yourself.  You have to do it for somebody else.  You are competing to win a house for your hero.”

Among season two’s contestants are a former U.S. serviceman playing for the person who saved his life on an Afghanistan battlefield, a young man competing for a woman who donated a kidney to his father, and a hellion turned minister on a quest to provide a dream home for his mother.

“For about 13 straight years I was as wild and crazy as an outhouse rat,” explains contestant James Thomason.  “I worshipped myself and pretty much tried to destroy myself.  For all those years, my mother was at the altar every time the church doors were open.  Through her prayers, through her sacrifice, I’m able to stand on TV and testify about the glory of God.  My mother doesn’t have a home.  My mother lives in the back of a real estate office.  I’m playing for her.”

While most people competing for the grand prize have little to no construction skills, the show is filled with many difficult challenges and obstacles that demand they draw from somewhere within themselves to get the job done.  Simply put, the work can be as emotionally grueling as it is physical.

For that reason, Home Free’s producers have brought in former Heisman Trophy winner and NFL quarterback Tim Tebow as a co-host.  While the no-nonsense Holmes is greatly skilled as a construction expert they wanted to add somebody who was a competitor at the highest level to provide inspirational encouragement to the contestants.

“We started looking all over for who we might bring in to fill that role,” says executive producer George Verschoor, a pioneer in reality television who developed the groundbreaking MTV series The Real World.  “We interviewed a lot of people across the spectrum of competition.  And then I met Tim.  Instantly, I knew that he was our guy because he started talking about competition, giving back, selfless acts, and why he has dedicated his life to changing other people’s lives for the better.”

Tebow seems to fit the show hand in glove.  A natural encourager with a gritty competitive spirit, the former gridiron great is excited to be part of the program.

“What is really special for me is that they are competing for the right reasons,” Tebow says.  “They are doing it for someone who loved them, who sacrificed for them.  They gave of their money, time, energy, or body for them.  These competitors have come here to put it all on the line for their hero.  This show is all about honoring those heroes, honoring that sacrifice and love.”

Since contestants are playing to win a home for their hero, the concept of sacrificing one’s self for the good of others serves as a powerful backdrop on Home Free.  However, competition can be fierce as each person desperately wants the prize to be his or hers.  Fortunately though, most can see beyond where grit meets personal glory.

“There are bigger things in life than money, possessions, and how many vacations you can go on,” points out contestant Maggie Cooper.  “I want everyone who thinks that material things are important to realize that they are really not.”

Fellow contestant Nick Bradley agrees.  “I have learned how selfless people can be.  You get out here and you see all of these other competitors that are out here competing for the same thing I am – to do something great for someone else who has inspired them.  That speaks volumes.”

Contestants will undoubtedly acquire some decent constructions skills competing on Home Free.  Building a house that will honor a hero is certainly a noble pursuit.  But it is the ability to provide a home for someone deserving that goes well beyond shaping brick and mortar.

“To me, your house is not just a home but it’s the foundation that makes the home,” Holmes says.  “It’s the foundation of your life, your future, and your children’s future.”

“It’s hope,” Tebow adds.  “It’s hope for the future.  It’s hope that tomorrow is going to be better than yesterday.  It’s a place that kids can laugh and where families can come together.  A house is more than just doors and windows.”

Season two of Home Free debuts this evening (Thursday) at 9pm ET on FOX.

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