It's fair to say I've lost the occasional weekend to home renovation marathons on HGTV. So when I heard that Discovery had signed The Brady Bunch and A Very Brady Renovation star Maureen McCormick, alongside Dan Vickery, to lead Frozen in Time -- a retro-inspired renovation show -- for its new streaming platform discovery+, I was instantly all in. The premise is enticing enough; take a home stuck in the past and introduce it to the 21st century. But it's the infectious camaraderie of its hosts, combined with so much heart, that makes it a winner.
The pairing of McCormick and Vickery is television gold. Their onscreen warmth flows naturally, as if they are old friends rather than relatively new acquaintances. "I had met Dan at a lunch, but we really met right before we started filming," McCormick told MediaVillage during an exclusive chat with the retro-renovation duo. "Honestly, I'm always afraid when I haven't met someone, but I had a good feeling and felt so comfortable. The moment I sat down with this guy it was like I'd known him my whole life. We shared so many loves, and he seemed like the nicest human being! He was from Oregon, so down to earth, and I just I fell in love."
"I was in love before we even met," Vickery said of McCormick. "I mean, it feels like we've known each other for a long time, but we did meet right before we started shooting. This has been an absolute dream. I feel very fortunate to have a co-worker who feels like family."
HGTV's A Very Brady Renovation was a ratings smash and enjoyed much critical acclaim in the fall of 2019 (eventually winning a Critics Choice Real TV Award). McCormick has always been passionate about houses, including her iconic television home, but she had no idea how life-changing her participation in that buzzed-about project would be.
"I'd been asked about doing shows in this space before, but I guess [with Brady Renovation] it was the timing," she said. "You know when things happen in your life that feel right and organic and natural? That's what happened with that whole experience. The timing was perfect, and it felt like a great fit with this network.
"From a very young age I loved everything 'home,'" she added. "And it was always important to my parents. My father was a schoolteacher until he got into real estate. Every weekend, as a family, we went to open houses, so, basically, it's something I love doing."
McCormick and Vickery are on the same page when it comes to overhauling old homes. Neither wants to erase the charm and heart of any home, something apparent throughout their series. "Walking into these houses I immediately have this reaction like I'm taken back in time," recalled McCormick. "I feel such warmth in my heart seeing these vintage, retro things and immediately I'm thinking, 'What would I do? How would I change it? And what do I love about this [space]?'"
"There is an instance of nostalgia," added Vickery. "Whether you grew up in a retro home or not, we all have a friend or relative whose home is frozen in time. So, there's this instant sense of familiarity. The homeowners have stories about how they got their homes, and of things that mean a lot to them. Maureen is great at finding the heart of the home, its warmth, the love and history infused throughout. That's the most important thing for us. We don't want to lose that."
"Every time anything like [old cabinetry] goes it breaks my heart," McCormick said with a sentimental sigh. "It's hard for me, but change is good. I'm often afraid to make changes in my life because I'm stuck. I'm frozen in time, and I'm like, 'Oh, if I change this, I won't have that feeling again.' But you can create new feelings, even better and healthier, that let you live a better life."
"Honestly, cabinetry from the '50s and '60s is not that great," Vickery chimed in. "A lot of them were plywood and hadn't met the peak of technology. I mean, cabinetry has come so far, and while it's hard to tear it out, we know what's being put in is so much better."
One thing the duo agrees on is the dated trend of carpeting an entire home (something featured in an episode). Thankfully, that has ended. "Seriously, so many homes back then were carpeted in every single room!" McCormick noted with a laugh. "A carpeted bathroom and kitchen? Please, how honestly beautiful is that look anymore? I don't think so. And cache ceilings? I love them because they're retro, but they have to go."
"Dan is a real artist," she continued. "He's got a huge heart and I believe he brings that heart into his designs. He cares so much about the people that we met and their homes. He's a perfectionist and I love that."
"Maureen is also a perfectionist," Vickery noted. "She's super creative and the homeowners are instantly absorbed by her. She loves these homes as much as they do, so if discovery+ allows us, we'd be happy to take on more. discovery+ has such a collection of warm-hearted reality TV shows, and if we get to be part of that family for an extended time, that's a family [we're] proud to be a part of."
With eighteen episodes done, the duo is ready for next step -- global renovation! "We want to do the world!" McCormick declared.
Frozen in Time begins streaming January 4, 2021, with the launch of discovery+.
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