Pool Builder Has a Shot at Actuality TV Stardom| Pool & Spa Information
A PSN Top Builder will be the star of a new reality series on the DIY network.
Pool Kings follows Mike Baldasare and Jim Bellamy, general managers of the Orange County and Palm Desert locations of California Pools, who build spectacular pools for customers throughout the Southwest.
The company’s president, Steve Terry, said the network began filming them in the middle of last year after a series of photo and video interviews. California Pools was one of several builders ready for the role, he said.
Ultimately, manufacturers crowned California Pools their Pool Kings for being a high volume custom builder with a knack for luxury furnishings that operates in six states – traits that will help maintain a streak if the pilot proves successful proves.
“They found it exciting to have so many locations available,” said Terry.
It is not known how many episodes will air. It all depends on how the pilot plays out. But it sounds promising.
The pilot, which airs later this month, captures the drama and joy of building a dream pool for a family in Las Vegas. The drama: while a crane tries to lift palm trees over the house, desert winds threaten to crash the palm trees onto the roof, and construction comes to a standstill when an excavator hits stubborn bedrock. The joy: The family loves the island oasis, the sunken living area, the pyro technology, and the huge spa overlooking the Vegas Strip.
Company employees were given a preview of the final cut at a recent corporate meeting held in Las Vegas. Terry said the reviews were unanimously positive.
The national commitment would be a boon to California Pools’ bottom line, especially as the contractor seeks to expand through licensing deals. However, according to Terry, the show will benefit the entire industry. Swimming pools that get airtime alongside other popular home improvement programs can only be a good thing.
“This is really bringing our industry into people’s living rooms,” he said.
As co-host, Baldasare wants to ensure that the representations on the show are correct. He told of a director who wanted a jet man to point the shotcrete hose in a certain direction so he could get a better camera angle. Baldasare refused. This would have made the jet man look like an amateur. Worse, it could have jeopardized the end product.
“People who know shotcrete would have seen that and said: ‘What are you doing?'”, Baldasare said.
Being a television personality with longtime friend Bellamy is a rush.
“We’re not actors … if you see us talking on the show, we are,” he said. “Jim and I are having a blast.”
“Pool Kings” isn’t the only pool-centric reality series right now. Animal Planet has two: “Insane Pools” and “The Pool Master”.
“Pool Kings” premieres on DIY Network on May 30th at 9:00 p.m. EST. (Times are subject to change. Check local entries.)
UPDATE, May 23: DIY Network has decided to move the show from its original time slot at 10:30 PM EST to 9 PM EST. The article has been updated to reflect the change.
Nate Traylor is Senior Editor at Pool & Spa News and Aquatics International.