Drew and Jonathan Scott are HGTV superstars with multiple shows under their toolbelts today, but the world-famous twins say the early days of getting their show and brand off the ground were really rocky. At Variety’s inaugural Lifestyle Leaders breakfast on November 30, 2022, the pair was interviewed on-stage about their beginnings, revealing what it was like filming their first shows and how they became widely-known as the “Property Brothers.”
Jonathan & Drew Scott Share Why They Cringe Over Their Early TV Shows
Native Canadians, the Scott brothers seemed destined to work together early on. According to Realtor.com, they were entrepreneurial early on, making and selling fabric-covered wire hangers when they were just seven. When a wholesaler in Japan started buying the hangers in bulk, the young Scotts made a whopping $15,000 on their first business.
As they started college at the University of Calgary, they bought a house together instead of living in the dorms. They then bought a second house near campus, according to their memoir “It Takes Two,” flipped it, and quickly made a $50,000 profit. The two saw an obvious opportunity, so Drew got into real estate while Jonathan became a licensed contractor.
Their first big break into TV happened when Drew was invited to film the pilot of a show called “My Dream Home” for Toronto-based production company Cineflix. When producers learned he had a twin brother, Jonathan was asked to appear with him. HGTV didn’t pick up the show at first, but Canada’s W Network ordered a full season, which aired in 2011.
Variety says once HGTV came back around and picked up the “Property Brothers” show, it was an overnight sensation in the U.S. Their shows now air in more than 160 countries and they have nearly 10,000 Scott Living-branded items sold at home improvement stores. In less than 10 years, they’re close to $2 billion in retail sales.
But at the Lifestyle Leaders breakfast, the 44-year-old twins admitted their early shows now make them cringe.
“When we started the show, it was so bad, because we were trying to be what we thought a host should be,” Jonathan said. “When ‘Property Brothers’ hit, it was the time we were finally like, you know what, we’re not going to pretend to be something else anymore, we’re going to be who we are.”
“And we thought there was an opportunity to help renovate people’s dream homes — but have a hell of a lot of fun while doing,” he continued. “And we thought if we had fun on camera with what we’re doing, the people at home watching are going to have fun as well. And it worked. And so the less we tried to be something else, the more that we just tried to be ourselves, the more successful the shows became.”
The Scotts Almost Weren’t Nicknamed the ‘Property Brothers’
Though they’re known around the world as the “Property Brothers,” Drew and Jonathan actually had a whole list of other nicknames they were thinking of using to brand themselves. They revealed that Drew came up with the name originally, but actually hated it.
“I came up with it, but I was like, ‘Wait, no, they could replace us with two other Property Brothers,'” he said.
Drew still has a photo of the original list of about 18 names they brainstormed as they were first beginning to create their brand including “Bungalow Brothers,” “Bros Before Renos,” “Mending Fences,” and “Two Bros and a Hammer” — which is interesting, given that HGTV’s “Good Bones” hosts — mother and daughter team Karen E. Laine and Mina Starsiak Hawk own a construction company called Two Chicks and a Hammer.
“But we kind of liked ‘Property Brothers,'” Jonathan admitted. “Drew was playing devil’s advocate, and we ended up coming all the way through this test and landing on ‘Property Brothers.'”
After recalling all the names they could have gone with, Drew said, “I’m glad we went with ‘Property Brothers.'”