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DIY Network’s Chris Grundy co-hosts new Travel Channel series ‘50/50’

Colette Greenstein
Colette Greenstein has been a contributing arts & entertainment writer for the Banner since 2009. VIEW BIO
DIY Network’s Chris Grundy co-hosts new Travel Channel series ‘50/50’
(l-r): “50/50” co-host Samantha Brown, contestants Alexandra Obe and David Sprague, and 50/50 co-host Chris Grundy in front of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. (Photo: Hayley Strichman)

Television personality, tool expert and avid do-it-yourselfer Chris Grundy, who hosted the first-ever interactive home-building television series “Giveaway Blog Cabin” for the DIY Network from 2012 through 2015, has been tapped to co-host the new travel series “50/50” with world traveler Samantha Brown. The series premiered on the Travel Channel on Sunday, Oct. 4.

The premise of the new show is that Grundy and Brown travel across the country ambushing unsuspecting people and offering them the trip of a lifetime — an unforgettable two-day vacation worth $50,000 that they have to spend in 50 hours. The catch is, in order to accept the trip, they have to drop everything and leave right away.

Grundy, who with Brown accompanies the contestants on the epic adventures, was filled with excitement and bursting with energy when he spoke to the Banner recently about his new co-hosting gig and all the fun he is having.

The premiere episode was in Abu Dhabi. Is Abu Dhabi everything we’ve seen and heard about?

Chris Grundy: It’s luxurious beyond belief, and it’s all true. There’s camels, there’s this and there’s that, but the heat is unbelievable. It was 118 degrees when we landed. It’s like a wet, hot sock that punches you in the face as soon as you get there.

What’s your favorite part about doing the show?

CG: My favorite part is the people we take, and seeing them let go of their lives for a little bit. Some of the people, they’re on break from lunch when we find them, or they’ve got four kids at home, or whatever their situation is. In the beginning they’re still holding on to it, but if we can have a great time and have them let go, the fun part is seeing them screaming and yelling. They get into a glider plane that they never thought they would do in their entire lives, but somehow, by the luck of the draw, they’re doing it. I love that.

What other cities are you traveling to or have traveled to for the show?

CG: Abu Dhabi as you said. Jackson Hole, Wyoming … We’ve been to Alaska, Australia, and the Adirondacks. We’re trying to spread out. We’re doing domestic and international, and we just have a ball wherever we go.

What has been the initial reaction of the contestants?

CG: You’ll probably hear them saying, ‘This isn’t real. This can’t be real. You’re not going to spend $50,000 on me.’ It really helps to have Samantha Brown on board. She is very recognizable. And sometimes if they don’t know either one of us, we’ll say, ‘Google Samantha Brown and see what comes up.’ And that closes the books on it. It helps that we have cameras around, but definitely they’re skeptics. They think they’re getting punked. They think some of their friends have set them up. Different things go through their minds. But in the end they get in the limo, they get on the plane, and then they start believing in us.

Are you still doing any other projects on DIY or are you focused solely on this Travel Channel show?

CG: I’m still building houses and still doing Blog Cabin on DIY. I just looked at a house a week ago to see if we wanted to use it for Blog Cabin. I’m doing both. I love both. There’s obviously different parts of each that I love. It’s such a great opportunity for me personally, so I can just go have fun, a ton of fun.

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