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 California Pools’ Orange County and Palm Desert locations, respectively, as they build spectacular pools for clients throughout the Southwest.
The firm’s president, Steve Terry, said the network began filming them in the middle of last year, following a series of interviews, along with photo and video shoots. California Pools was one of several builders that were up for the role, he said.
Ultimately, producers crowned California Pools as its Pool Kings because it’s a high-volume custom builder with an aptitude for luxury features and that operates in six states — qualities that will help sustain a series if the pilot proves successful.
“For them, the excitement was to have the availability of a lot of locations,” Terry said.
It’s unknown how many episodes will air. That all hinges on how the pilot episode performs. But it sounds promising.
The pilot, set to air later this month, captures the drama and joy of building a dream pool for a family in Las Vegas. The drama: As a crane attempts to lift palm trees over the house, desert winds threaten to crash the palm trees onto the roof, plus construction comes to a halt when an excavator strikes stubborn bedrock. The joy: The family is thrilled with the island oasis, sunken living area, pyro-technology, and massive spa overlooking the Vegas strip.
The firm’s employees got a preview of the final cut at a recent company gathering in Las Vegas. Terry said the reviews are unanimously positive.
The national exposure would be a boon to California Pools’ bottom line, especially as the builder seeks to expand via licensing agreements. However, the show stands to benefit the industry as a whole, Terry contends. Swimming pools getting airtime alongside other popular home improvement programs can only be a good thing.
“This really brings our industry into people’s living rooms,” he said.
As co-host, Baldasare wants to ensure that what’s depicted on the show is accurate. He told of a director who wanted a nozzleman to point the shotcrete hose a certain direction so that he could get a better camera angle. Baldasare refused. Doing so would have made the nozzleman look like an amateur. Worse, it could have compromised the final product.
“Guys who know shotcrete would have seen that and said, ‘What are you doing!?’” Baldasare said.
Being a television personality with his longtime friend, Bellamy, is a kick.
“We’re not actors… When you see us talking on the show, that’s who we are,” he said. “Jim and I have a lot of fun.”
“Pool Kings” isn’t the only pool-centric reality series at the moment. Animal Planet has two: “Insane Pools” and “The Pool Master.”
“Pool Kings” will premier May 30 at 9 p.m. EST on the DIY Network. (Times are subject to change. Check local listings.)
UPDATE, May 23: DIY Network decided to move the show up from its original 10:30 p.m. EST time slot to 9 p.m. EST. The article has been updated to reflect the change.