Originally created 02/25/02

'Warhouse Warriors' invade America



Although it is not situated in the outback of Australia or deepest Africa, this reality-based television series still involves survivors, just of a different breed.

In the show "Warehouse Warriors," it isn't the body but the hands that need to be fit. Contestants for the new program by the Do-It-Yourself Network must endure eight hours of building a concoction and then have their creation evaluated by a tribal council of judges. The new program launches April 5.

"It's a reality-based show with a twist," said Jim Zarchin, president of DIY network, which is a Scripps Howard company. "It's Bob Villa meets the Iron Chef."

Each week, the show will feature two three-person teams competing against each other to design and complete the construction of a project, such as a gazebo or a multilevel picnic table. Using tools and supplies found in the pre-stocked warehouse, the teams create the projects from scratch once the rules are explained and the project to be built is announced.

The warriors who survive the challenge of creating the best version of the project are awarded a gift certificate to a national home improvement store. The completed projects are donated to charities.

The battles are commencing and being taped every week in the studios of Rivr Media in Knoxville, Tenn., with contestants being flown in from across the country.

Local carpenters have already built intricate gazebos, and doghouses have been erected by firefighters from Knoxville and Oak Ridge after much sweat.

With a partition dividing the two teams on the set of production, Leigh Seaman, supervising producer of Rivr Media, said, "It is interesting to see how the teams choose to construct the project and disburse their time."

The construction and design elements of creating an intricate doghouse to fit four dogs of varying sizes was "the easy part" for D.J. Corcoran, a firefighter for the Knoxville Fire Department.

"The time management is the hardest," he said. "Sometimes it is easy to get carried away with one thing or get off task, but the project still needs to be done by the end of the day."

At day's end, although Corcoran's team was handy with wood and tools, the other team's design, quality and creative expression "won them bragging rights" as the winners.

"They had a few more special features inside the doghouse like insulation, a ventilation system, doors and a movable wall," Seaman explained.

She said, "It is not a straight win-lose situation. High creativity is what matters."

"The contestants enjoy the challenge, the project is donated and the show will be very watchable for the viewers," Zarchin said. "It's a win-win situation.

"Not only can viewers watch step-by-step but there is a high take-away value, where a viewer can undertake the same projects at home."

He said, "It's a signature program that offers a fun rivalry."

Warehouse Warriors is a "new wave of home improvement shows that offer a rush of excitement," said Ed Del Grande, host of the program, who has been previously seen on Home & Garden Television's "The Fix" and "Dream Builders."

On the Web: Submissions for "Warehouse Warriors" teams are still being accepted. For more information and guidelines, go to www.diynet.com.