When longtime Hallmark star Benjamin Ayres urged fans to join him for an Instagram Live session during his recent trip to Los Angeles, he didn’t mention that he’d also be joined by a famous guest. So when fans tuned in on March 25, 2023, they were surprised to see Drew Scott — one-half of HGTV’s uber-successful “Property Brothers” — sitting next to Ayres and wearing one of his Romance University hoodies.
The two stars are longtime friends, Ayres told Heavy in a post-trip interview, having met two decades ago when both were up-and-coming actors in Canada, years before Drew and his twin brother Jonathan became home improvement royalty.
In December 2022, the Scott brothers signed a new three-year deal with HGTV and its parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery, further expanding what Variety recently called their “billion-dollar lifestyle empire.” Scott Brothers Global includes branded lines of furniture, mattresses, rugs, and home goods as well as a production company that oversees at least “15 unscripted series and TV specials in 160 countries,” according to a January 2023 profile of the duo in the Wall Street Journal.
Ayres, who still lives in Canada and stays with Drew and his family when he’s in L.A., says he’s endlessly inspired watching Drew and Jonathan, who’s also become a friend over the years, live out their dreams while always finding new ways to tap into their passions. Spending a week and a half with them couldn’t have come at a better time for the actor as he figures out the future of Romance University, which started as a just-for-fun hoodie design last December but has quickly expanded into a thriving online shop and community.
“They’re big into team building, they’re so big on community, and that’s what I find most inspiring about them,” Ayres said of the Scott brothers.
In addition to being inspired by their community-building and business acumen, Ayres said he and the “Property Brothers” just have lots of fun together, and are coming up with ways they can work together in the future, from potential TV shows to a tongue-in-cheek idea for a new Hallmark movie.
HGTV’s Drew Scott Throws His Support Behind Romance University
Ayres, whose most recent Hallmark movie was 2022’s “Long Lost Christmas” with Taylor Cole, has been amazed by the support he’s received for Romance University, including from Drew and his wife Linda, whom he said is “over the moon” about the concept and purchased tons of merchandise while he was in town.
Ayres came up with the concept late last year as a just-for-fun spoof on historic learning institutions like Harvard, imagining a school devoted to all things TV romance, with Hallmark stars as the professors and die-hard fans the proud alumni. Ayres designed a logo and hoped to sell a few hoodies to raise money for charity, but the initiative has had a life of its own, growing in just three months into an online shop and community with huge support from fellow Hallmark stars and over $11,000 raised for women’s and children’s shelters.
When Ayres decided to host an Instagram Live session from L.A. to share the new “RU” bomber jacket, designed to look like the jackets that are often part of Hallmark’s wardrobes for its male leads, Drew asked to be involved. During their chat, he said that it’s only natural they work together given their longtime connection and since Ayres “looks like he could be my brother.”
“People assume we are related however, he is obviously the better looking brother,” Drew joked in a statement to Heavy. “It’s amazing to see his career build over the years as an actor, host and entrepreneur.”
“Romance University has taken his fans by storm,” he continued. “Not only does the brand look great, it’s comfortable and is building a strong community. Maybe one day I can become a student of RU 🤣”
Ayres countered that Drew is already considered a “professor” at the imaginary university, given that he has co-starred in a Hallmark movie — 2014’s “The Christmas Parade.” And Drew revealed he’s open to returning for another.
Drew Scott and Benjamin Ayres Hope to Act Together in the Future
During their Instagram Live together, Drew recalled how his role in Hallmark’s “The Christmas Parade” came about, sarcastically throwing shade at his twin brother in the process.
“So, originally they asked if I wanted to play the lead male, but in my schedule I didn’t have 10 days to shoot,” Drew explained. “So I said ‘I have 4 days, what could we do?’ And they’re like, ‘Can you play the supporting male lead? It’s the fiancé of Anna Lynn McCord’s character.’ I’m like ‘Great, so what’s his story?'”
In a knock against Jonathan, he said Hallmark executives told him, “‘Well he’s basically a douchey real estate guy’ and I’m like, ‘Oh, great! So I’m just gonna play my brother!'”
“Maybe one day I’ll come back,” Drew said of returning to Hallmark, adding that since Ayres shoots “like 600 movies a year” that he should be incorporated into one.
“I should be cast as your brother,” he suggested. “I’ll come in, I’ll be like this annoying, whiney brother.”
Ayres replied, “We should do like a real estate one, it’d just be called ‘The Property Cousins!'”
“But you’re the handy one and I’m useless,” Drew added, to which Ayres quipped, “But wait, that’s so typecast!”
All joking aside, Ayres told Heavy that Drew truly would like to find ways to act again, and that they discussed various ideas throughout their time together, from acting together to Ayres trying his hand as a TV host.
“Ultimately, you know, we would love to do a movie together,” Ayres said. “So there is that and then we talked about some ideas that we want to do.”
“They’re so kind and open and generous, but are driven and have big ideas,” Ayres said of both Drew and Jonathan. “I think, oftentimes, that type of power could go to one’s head and, like, it’s never gone to theirs. When you get to a certain level of power, you decide to abuse it or you decide to help people and that’s really what they do. And that’s what inspires me about them.”
You could count on me to watch anything with Drew and Johnathan Scott in. I miss seeing The Christmas Parade every year. Drew was so perfect for that role.