(CBS) – The surprise is finally out tonight on CBS as Secret Celebrity Renovation makes its series debut at 8/7c, also available to stream with Paramount+ or the CBS App. Secret Celebrity Renovation, hosted by Nischelle Turner, gives a look behind the curtain at some of sports and entertainments’ biggest names as they surprise some very special people from their upbringing with an incredible home renovation.
CBS’ Matt Weiss spoke to Nischelle Turner about tonight’s premiere and what to expect from the show’s heartfelt first season.READ MORE: NASCAR Working Towards Future Growth
MW: Hello Nischelle, nice to see you! Secret Celebrity Renovation debuts tonight at 8pm on CBS and Paramount+. What can you tell us about the premise of the show?
NT: It’s a renovation show with the biggest heart you will ever find. The guilty pleasure of seeing your favorite A- list celebrities, trying their darndest in some of the episodes to help out with a renovation for their loved ones. It’s a really good look at celebrities that we love that we’ve never seen before, I call it pulling back the veil, because I’ve been covering entertainment for the longest time and I interview so many celebrities and you love them but you’re always getting a really put together package. You’re getting them as their best selves. Well, in this series, you’re getting them in their most vulnerable spaces.
You’re getting them with their origin story in their hometowns, with their families who sometimes don’t care if they’re Wayne Brady “The Triple Threat”. They know little Wayne Brady, who would run around the house or whatever. We’re really getting to see them in spaces and meet people that we’ve never met before and really tell their stories of how they became the people that we love.
So many times, that involves that person who made THE difference in their life. That person who believed in them when nobody else did. That person who saw the superstar in them when we did not, or no one did.
They’re getting the chance to say thank you to that person. I think we all have that person in our life who sent us on a different trajectory, just because they believed in us. They did something for us, they took us in, that we would love to say thank you to. You’re getting to see that play out in front of you every Friday night.
MW: It’s an awesome concept, I’m not going to lie though when I first saw the title for the show, I thought it was like a nice version of Punk’d where you were going to surprise them with renovations to their own houses.
NT: [Laughs] That’s so funny. I guess if you break it down in a way, I’m not sure i’d say it’s like Punk’d, but it is maybe a very very nice version.
Sometimes the celebrities tell the people, the recipients, like, hey, I’m going to do some stuff at the house, and so they know, sometimes they don’t know anything at all. Chris Paul, didn’t tell his granny anything, until we presented this to her on camera and look on her face was like, you’re going to do what in my house that I’ve lived in for 51 years and that nobody has ever touched, what?
Those are moments in themselves. Sometimes the celebrities will tell them a little bit about what we’re doing. At the end of the day, the renovation and the transformation are still a huge moment, a huge surprise.
MW: What’s been the most rewarding part for you?
NT: Oh, my gosh, well, just the whole process. I don’t even know if it’s so much the host part but for the first time, I’m a producer on the project as well. So getting to work from the inside out and not so much the outside in and helping shape the stories that we’re telling and the people that we’re seeing and the content that people are consuming.
I think for me, that’s been the most valuable thing, especially in this time and space where we’re hearing so many different types of voices, I believe, it’s really important. Having a hand in that, means everything to me.
MW: Congratulations! You mentioned him earlier, as you said “little” Wayne Brady. What are we going to see from this premiere episode with him?READ MORE: Jim Harbaugh Stumps For Michigan Star DE
NT: Yeah, not Lil’ Wayne though [laughs]. Full disclosure, Wayne is my good friend outside of this. We’ve been very good friends for a long time I consider his family like my family. When we were doing this series, I called him and I said, Wayne, I need you to be a part of this series because I also know his backstory. I know that it is filled with a lot of love. It’s a bit unconventional. I know that for about 20 years he’s been trying to move his grandmother and his aunt to Los Angeles.
He even bought a house out here to try and entice them to come and they said, no, we’re not leaving, we’re not moving. He had to figure out a different way. He’s been wanting to do a renovation for them.
This was a really great opportunity to not throw his money at it, but throw himself at it, throw his heart at it, and his sweat equity at it. At the end of the day that meant more to them than anything. It meant more to his aunt Lilly more than anything to know that Wayne came back and really worked on this, worked hard on it, and only to make her happy. It just meant the world.
And also, this episode is just so funny.
MW: Its Wayne Brady, of course.
NT: Really funny. I mean, listen, you come for the renovation, you stay for Chainsaw Brady. I think Chainsaw Brady might get a spin off. [laughs]
MW: We’ll love to talk some folks at CBS, get that in the works. You mentioned Chris Paul earlier and the show will also feature people like Emmitt Smith, Lauren Alaina, Boston Rob from Survivor, Boomer Esiason, a ton of people. Last question before I let you go here. What do you want fans to take away from the show?
NT: We’re just giving you goodness from start to finish. If you ask me, who was the celebrity that really did the most work, Boston Rob, head and shoulders. He’s in the construction game and he came in said put me to work. This was so great, because he was doing a renovation for his mother and his father. His mom is so awesome, the sacrifices she did, gave up a really good job to go and take a job that didn’t pay a lot at university.
At Boston University, so Rob could go to college for free, and help their family out. Those types of things are what we were working with. He really got in there. He was ingrained in the process from start to finish. It was really cool to see that.
Then you have people like Lauren Alaina, who did a renovation for her cheerleading coach, but this woman was much more than that. We found out during the episode, you might go in thinking cheerleading coach, okay, but no, this woman was a second mother in so many ways to her. This was one of the most emotional episodes that we did. Lauren was so emotional to be able to do this for her. It was really, really sweet to see.
Then you have people like Chris Paul and Emmitt Smith, some of the toughest people that we see on the court and on the field. When I tell you, they were the biggest criers that we had and the most emotional that we had, it was so heartwarming. I can’t even tell you how great it was to see these men be so vulnerable, but also be so proud of what they were doing with their family. It was really great.
MW: We’ll have to have the tissues ready for sure. Thank you so much for the time, Nichelle, great to talk to you today and all the best!
NT: Thanks, Matt!MORE NEWS: Lions RB D'Andre Swift's Still Hurting
Tune in for Secret Celebrity Renovation tonight at 8/7c on CBS or streaming with Paramount+ and the CBS App. Check your local listings for more information.