Everything you need to know about Better Homes and Gardens

Better Homes and Gardens is an Australian television show that is broadcast on the Seven Network and is based on a magazine of the same which has been in publication since the 1920’s. The magazine is published and distributed domestically by Pacific Magazines. The show first began airing in 1995. The program aired its 1000th episode on the 2th of June 2018.

Better Homes and Gardens has been a rating success for many years recently helping Seven to beat the Nine network in a ratings race. The networks news shows are the most watched shows in the evening across metro areas. Better Homes and Gardens came in fifth place for ratings for the network.

The show had n average of 1,336,000 viewers in 2019 beating out the Graham Norton Show, The Living Room and The Chase Australia. Better Homes and Gardens received the silver Logie for Australia’s most popular lifestyle television program.

What is the premise of Better Homes and Gardens

Better Homes and Gardens covers a number of home and lifestyle related topics including gardening, landscaping, architecture, cooking, DIY, pet care, home improvements, travel and more. The show also regularly features celebrity guests.  The show is based on a magazine of the same name which is the sixth best performing magazine in Australia. The magazine is also distributed overseas in the US and is known for being part of the seven sisters, a group of women’s services magazines. In the US there are also a number of other companies associated with the brand, such as a global real estate business.

Who are the presenters on the show?

The show is currently hosted by ex-Olympic swimmer and now media personality Johanna Griggs who has been the programs host since 2005. Johanna Griggs was famous for winning the bronze medal in the 1990 Commonwealth games. She is also a host on the television program House Rules and even once appeared as a Swedish tourist on Home and Away in 1992.

Popular gardening expert Graham Ross has been on the show since 1995, appearing on more than 700 episodes over the course of the show’s history. Graham Ross is a well-known horticulturist, author and television presenter in Australia. He has won awards for his contributions to the field of horticulture. Vet Dr Harry joined the show in 2004 to provide pet care information and advice to viewers. Dr Harry Cooper began his career on a talk show before later joining Burkes Backyard. He has hosted his own series including Talk to the animals and Harry’s Practice which was cancelled in 2003 even though it had great ratings.

Dr Harry was revealed to be suffering from cancer in 2007 and after several months of treatment he went into remission and continued his television presenting roles. Chef Karen Martini also joined the show in 2006 to share her love of cooking with seasonal, fresh ingredients with the audience. Karen Martini has been a professional chef for more than 20 years and has cooked in a number of notable restaurants throughout Australia including Icebergs in Sydney.

Ed Halmagyi also entered the show on 2004, he shares recipes with viewers that are easily prepared at home. Most recently builder Adam Dovile joined the show following his 2014 win on the show House Rules, he presented DIY projects on the show. Adam Dovile was one of the most popular contestants on the reality television show. Jason Hodges, the shows resident landscaper joined Better Homes and Gardens in 2005 with his Fox Terrier, Dannii. Tara Dennis joined the show in 2006 as the the resident designer and decorator on the show.

Past hosts on the show include Heidi Bohay who was a presenter in 1996, Noni Hazelhurst who was the shows presenter from 1995 to 2004, John Jarratt who presented between 1995 and 1998, Graham Ross, who presented in 2004 and Michael Spound, the presenter in 1996.

Previous food presenters include Belinda Jeffrey from 1996-2000 and Maeve O’Meara from 2000-2007.

Past and present architects on the show include Grahame Bond from 1998 to 2002, Tony Fragar in 1996 and Peter Coulghoun from 2003 to the current day.

Decorators on the show have included Fiona Connolly betwee 1996 and 2004, Sandy de Beyer in 1996, Noni Hazlehurst in 1995, Monica Trapaga between 1997 and 2003, Gwen Jones Palmer in 2004, Lissanne Oliver in 2005, and Demi Harman between 2014 and 2016.

Previous DIY presenters include John Jarrat 1995 to 998, Scott McGregor 1999 to 2003, Rob Palmer 2004 to 2014 and current Adam Dovile.

When does Better Homes and Gardens broadcast?

The program was aired on Tuesdays at 7.30 pm originally and followed The Great Outdoors until the show was moved to Monday’s in the 2000s. After that it aired prior to Room for Improvement before it was shifted to Saturday nights at 7.30 pm in 2004 and then to 6.30pm.

The ratings of the show suffered immensely in the time slot as it struggled against Australian rules football which was played on other networks. In 2005 the show was shifted to Friday nights at 7.30pm where it has remained since, enjoying ratings success in its new time slot. The show has now become the longest running lifestyle program in Australia. The show has commanded audiences of more than two million people in its time on air and regularly found itself in the top ten highest rated programs in Australia throughout the 1990s.

From 2007 to 2011 the show was aired ahead of the Friday night football coverage which started at 8.30 pm. The time slot proved to be a successful one, although it was unpopular for east coast fans who got the football after a one hour delay. The show was pushed into a new timeslot in 2012 and now airs at 7.00 pm.

Controversy’s surrounding Better Homes and Gardens

There was a controversy in 2015 when DIY expert Rob Palmer was axed from the show and replaced with builder Adam Dovile. Rob Palmer had been a presenter on the Channel Seven television program for thirteen years but was let go to make room for Adam Dovile. Rob Palmer came out to tell Woman’s Day magazine that he was not informed of the decision not to renew his contract by the network themselves. In fact, he was told about the decision by a third-party, his agent, who phoned to tell him he would not be returning in 2015 whilst he was away on holiday. The decision was an unexpected one as Rob Palmer had already been involved in promotional materials for the show and had a shoot scheduled for his return. He had appeared in more than 500 episodes prior to being let go and had already filmed the television promotion for the show. Adam Dovile, winner of the previous year House Rules was brought in as a replacement.

Another controversy also includes the rumours that Joh and Jamie from Better Homes and Gardens cannot work well together and that there had been closed door meetings them at the network. Joh was dismissive of the rumours, claiming the duo worked well together and had a good rapport, although they did occasionally butt heads of design choices.

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
Executive Editor at Best in Australia. Mike has spent over a decade covering news related to business leaders and entrepreneurs around Australia and across the world. You can contact Mike here.
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