HGTV Helpers Who Deserve Their Own Show

While it's certainly true that HGTV continues to enjoy the success of such tried-and-true personalities as "Property Brothers" Drew and Jonathan Scott and "Home Town" spouses Ben and Erin Napier, the network has also shown serious savvy in recent years when it's come to finding, developing, and launching new stars. Recently, a number of these have come from social media, where the massive Instagram followings of Galey Alix and Jenn Todryk led to their own HGTV series, "Home in a Heartbeat" and "No Demo Reno," respectively. 

Another untapped source of new HGTV stars could be the sidekicks and "helpers" who appear on the network's existing shows. It's a no-brainer that fans would tune in to watch these familiar faces step into the spotlight in their own solo shows, bringing their wealth of home-renovation expertise and the television skills they've no doubt picked up over the years. 

In fact, a quick spin through the HGTV lineup demonstrates that there are numerous series in which the secondary personalities have developed fan bases of their own, with viewers clamoring to see more of them in episodes. If any network execs are open to suggestions, here are a few HGTV helpers who deserve their own show.

Scott McGillivray's stylish sidekick Debra Salmoni

While transforming old cottages into sleek vacation retreats on HGTV's "Vacation House Rules," Scott McGillivray leaves most of the design details to his onscreen second banana Debra Salmoni. As viewers can attest, Salmoni's design skills are first-rate, as is her ability to communicate those ideas on television, two qualities that make her an ideal choice to be front and centre as star of her own HGTV series. 

Despite Salmoni's obvious skills as a designer, she never intended to pursue it professionally as a career. "No one had interior designers. It just seems like a really unattainable dream," she told HGTV Canada. So I figured wherever my career or the world takes me, I'm going to have to know how to market myself." As a result, she studied marketing — experience that paid off handsomely when she launched her own design studio, DebraLillianDesign. "She thrives in fast-paced environments, and her style continues to evolve within the constantly shifting scenery of her industry," noted her company website, honing in on two key attributes necessary in any HGTV design star.

If HGTV ever decides to give Salmoni a solo series, an interesting hook could be her focus on environmental sustainability within her designs. "I work very closely with homeowners to make sure we select the best and most affordable options that also don't have a negative impact on the environment," she explained in an interview with HGTV Canada.

Woodworker Josh Nowell of Home Town

Few HGTV series have attained the instant success of "Home Town," with Ben and Erin Napier's revitalization of Laurel, Mississippi striking a chord with viewers. In fact, by 2022, the show had become so popular that HGTV announced plans to expand "Home Town" into a bona fide franchise spawning other series, beginning with the spinoff "Home Town Kickstart."

While viewers have grown to love the Napiers, they've also come to appreciate Josh Nowell, who is not only the couple's longtime friend and partner in their Laurel Mercantile business, but also a master woodworker in his own right. His easygoing charm and friendly, inviting personality have made him a fan favorite on the show, although Laurel Mercantile's business operations keep him from spending as much time in the workshop as he'd like. However, as he shared in an interview appearing on the Laurel Mercantile website, he's got piles of various types of wood stacked in the corner of the workshop in anticipation of when he can free up some time in order to use it in a woodworking project. "Some have been there for two or three years if that tells you anything," he joked.

Would HGTV viewers tune in to check out a solo show featuring Josh creating hand-crafted furniture in the workshop he shares with Ben? Given the spectacular ratings for "Home Town" and its multiple spinoff series, it kind of seems like a no-brainer.

Jonathan Knight's Farmhouse Fixer designer Kristina Crestin

Jonathan Knight first experienced fame as a member of '90s boy band New Kids on the Block before gaining a whole other level of stardom in his HGTV series, "Farmhouse Fixer." As viewers are well aware, the show follows his exploits renovating historic New England farmhouses with the help of his go-to designer, Kristina Crestin. Crestin is no neophyte in the design biz; as her HGTV bio pointed out, she launched her own firm, Kristina Crestin Design, back in 2009, appeared in the trailblazing PBS home-renovation series "This Old House," and was named HGTV's Designer of the Year for 2019, before being tapped for "Farmhouse Fixer."

As Crestin explained in an interview with, not only does she have considerable experience designing for new builds, but working with Knight on "Farmhouse Fixer" has also granted her expertise with historic structures, providing her with a level of versatility that could certainly be put to use in her own HGTV series. "So it's like right now, I have a split personality because I love the master planning of new construction," she said of the duality of her design work. "But I love just getting in there and the thought process involved with all these farmhouses," she added, noting the unique challenges inherent in renovating old, historic buildings. "You really need to think on your feet a lot, because every day you might uncover something new."

Martha Stewart's gardener Ryan McCallister

Viewers of HGTV's "Martha Knows Best" have gotten to know Ryan McCallister, the curly-haired gardener who banters with star Martha Stewart while keeping her property's extensive flora lush and healthy. As McCallister told HGTV, he brings a wealth of experience, given his lifelong affinity for plants, and majoring in horticulture while attending college.

While working as a gardener in New York City, he felt unfulfilled tending to the tiny gardens in Manhattan's backyards and rooftops, and sought something more spacious upon which to harness his talents. As it turned out, that was at the precise same time that Stewart was seeking a gardener for her expansive Bedford estate, and a friend who'd worked with Stewart connected the two. Days later, he was working for her. "I became her gardener randomly and unplanned," McCallister explained. For him, Stewart's property simultaneously presented both a challenge and an opportunity. "The property is huge, and the amount of plants, gardens, and landscape to take care of, with great precision and attention to detail, is staggering," he told Mr. Plant Geek.

The rapport between McCallister and Stewart that HGTV fans have grown to love on "Martha Knows Best" is no act, and the relationship depicted on television is the real deal. "[People] don't seem to realize that the farm is her actual house, so I see/talk to her daily," he explained. If he did land his own HGTV show, Stewart would probably make a cameo or two.

Home Town's Mallorie Rasberry

Another fan-favorite personality to emerge from HGTV's "Home Town" has been Mallorie Rasberry, a friend and neighbor of Ben and Erin Napier who has been instrumental in their efforts to revitalize Laurel. Over the years, viewers have watched Rasberry chip in on all manner of projects, such as the time she showed up at a renovation with some stencils and paint, using her considerable DIY skills to create a charming tableau on a kitchen bar that added a boldly inventive style that cost next to nothing.

As viewers have recognized, Rasberry boasts an enthusiasm that's downright infectious, something what would certainly go a long way in bringing in viewers if she ever received her own HGTV show. She's also a people person, a facet of her personality that she both exercised and honed while greeting tourists at the Laurel Welcome Center. "I find myself welcoming a lot of people to Laurel," she said in an interview for the website of Laurel's Lott Furniture Co.

Another aspect that would serve her well in a solo show is her love of seeking out vintage furniture to transform with her boundless creativity. "I love to dig," she said. "Whether it's a new store or an antique store, more than anything I love to find a bargain."

Fixer Upper's Shorty Sanchez

During the first few seasons of Chip and Joanna Gaines' "Fixer Upper" on HGTV (before the series ended, and was subsequently revived on the couple's own branded Magnolia Network), fans of the show got to know Saul "Shorty" Sanchez. Sanchez was the couple's right-hand jack of all trades, able to handle any and all tasks in a renovation, and even demonstrated a keen eye for design. 

If the easy camaraderie between Chip Gaines and Sanchez seemed authentic to viewers, that's because it was; the two have known each other since Sanchez was just 16, when Gaines first hired him. "He was just always energetic and always the right man for the job," Gaines said of his friend during the series' 2021 revival debut, "Fixer Upper: Welcome Home" (via Yahoo! Entertainment).

Sanchez's "Fixer Upper" popularity would seemingly make him a natural to headline his own HGTV show. In fact, during the years between "Fixer Upper" ending and its Magnolia Network revival, fans chimed in on social media to wonder how he was doing. "I really miss Shorty from Fixer Upper. I hope he's living his best life," a fan tweeted. That question received an answer — from no less an authority than Gaines himself. "Have no fear!! My brother @shortymsanchez is living not only 'his' but THE best life," Gaines responded.

The Good Bones boys

Viewers of HGTV's "Good Bones" are well aware that when it comes to the renovation projects undertaken by Karen E. Laine and Mina Starsiak Hawk, the mother-daughter team behind Two Chicks and a Hammer, it takes a village. That village is populated by a four-member crew that can arguably be described as television's handiest quartet: Cory Miller, MJ Coyle, Austin Aynes, and Starsiak Hawk's half-brother, Tad Starsiak. Putting these four together in their own show would be television gold for HGTV, given their hilarious banter, outsized personalities and keen renovation skills. 

In terms of the latter, they all bring different things to the table. "I'm the in-house general contractor," Starsiak told HGTV of his function on the show. Miller is the show's project manager, a role that finds him wearing an array of different hats. "I do a lot of whatever we do," he explained. Coyle serves as the lead designer on "Good Bones," which, like the others, sees him venturing into a variety of areas. "I do a little bit of everything," he said, "from the exterior paint colors to the interior paint colors ... I mean, you name it, I do it, pretty much." Then there's Aynes, who's primary role is as company bookkeeper and dealing with aspects regarding communication. "I also get thrown into small-scale projects with Karen," he added, "plus fill in here and there on handyman status."

Extreme Makeover's Breegan Jane

Designer Breegan Jane joined "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" in 2020 when HGTV revived the show, which had previously aired on ABC and had been off the air since 2012. Her sunny disposition and unflappable nature in the face of unexpected challenges during the renovation process have definitely made an impression on viewers, even though she was pretty much a television newbie when she was hired for the show. However, she proved to be a quick study. "The power of TV and the storytelling of design is much more than picking pillows," the single mom explained in a 2020 interview with Architectural Digest. As her website noted, she's also appeared on other HGTV shows, including "Brother vs. Brother" and "HGTV Dream Home" (both the 2022 and 2023 editions).

Would she be up for stepping out solo for her very own HGTV show? That's not a question that she's ever answered directly. However, she had a telling response when asked to recount how she came to be cast on the show. "Now it feels like the perfect marriage, even though I still consider it the chance of a lifetime," she told Designers Today of being asked to be a part of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." "When you work hard, do what you love and do it well to the best of your ability, I believe the right opportunities will find you," she added.

Love It or List It contractor Eric Eremita

Making its HGTV debut back in 2008, "Love It or List It" ranks as one of the network's longest-running series. As its fans well know, the show follows the ongoing battle between designer Hilary Farr, who tries to convince homeowners frustrated with their current home to renovate it and fix what irks them, and real estate agent David Visentin, who tries to convince them to ditch their current home and buy a new one. 

During the course of all those seasons, viewers have come to know Eric Eremita. "Love It or List It" producers first noticed him when he appeared on "Brother vs. Brother," he told Distractify in September 2022, and scooped him up as general contractor. Eremita ultimately appeared in nearly 70 episodes, but eventually made the difficult decision to leave the show. The key reason for his departure, he explained, was that "Love It or List It" films in North Carolina, while his family resides in New York City. There was, however, another reason. "I always wanted my own show, to be very honest with you," he divulged. 

In a subsequent interview with Distractify, he revealed he was actually working on his own solo series, which he'd dubbed "Homeboys," subtitled "Home at Last." The premise, he explained, would feature him renovating homes for those who love their neighborhood but not their house, so they can remain where they are and be happier in their home.

Jedi from Maine Cabin Masters

Arguably one of HGTV's unlikeliest hits, "Maine Cabin Masters" follows the exploits of a crew of dedicated tradespeople devoted to resurrecting run-down and dilapidated cabins in rural Maine. Easily the most popular member of the cast is Jared Baker, better known by his nickname, Jedi. 

Why would the shaggy-bearded contractor be the perfect person for HGTV to build a wicked-cool show around? There are many reasons — his wry sense of humor and his virtuoso-like skill with a chainsaw, to name two — but there's also a certain attitude that is undeniably entertaining when captured on camera and broadcast on television. 

"My biggest pet peeve is the saying 'it is what it is.' No, it is what you make it!" he explained in an interview on the Maine Cabin Masters website. "Give me rocks and I will crush it to sand, give me sand and I will heat it to glass, give me glass and I will fill it with a tasty beverage! Make the best of every situation. It's our only option."