NEW YORK (AP) — HGTV is working the buddy system.
The home-and-garden network has upped the number of shows with co-hosts who are related or married to five, adding "America's Most Desperate Kitchens," hosted by cousins Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri, to its lineup of shows hosted by spouses, siblings and other assorted relatives.
Keeping it all in the family is deliberate: "The natural conversation and exchanges between them as experts with a pre-existing relationship engages audiences," said HGTV general manager Allison Page.
The lifestyle network's top show "Brother vs Brother," starring brothers Drew and Jonathan Scott fixing houses for resale, averaged 2.5 million viewers this season — a 47 percent increase over last year's viewership, according to Nielsen ratings.
Carrino and Colaneri are back with their fourth HGTV show this summer. In their newest offering, the duo renovates kitchens in homes across the country. Colaneri said they enjoy being able to portray their relationship exactly as it is without any amped-up drama.
"We are first cousins, best friends and we are almost like brothers," Colaneri said.
Their first HGTV gig hosting "Kitchen Cousins" came out of the blue: They got the surprise call from the network 10 months after a friend sent in a video she made of them.
"I don't think for one second we ever thought this is something we can do," Carrino said.
Page said the network's audience is mostly women, but they have worked to expand it. Since hosting on HGTV, Carrino said, "Big burly union electrical workers" have come up to him saying, "Can I get a picture? I love your show."
Page said the two-host system helps diversify the demographic of the audience, especially when each of the hosts has a different expertise. She said "the shows that focus on physical construction and decoration appeal to both" men and women.
"Our fans stretch from young children to adults," Colaneri said. "There is always someone who comes up to you that you would never expect"
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