Bob Vila, host of one of public television's most popular shows, won't be calling "This Old House" home any more, says the program's executive producer. The veteran host is being shown the door because his numerous commercial endorsements don't fit the image of public television, officials at public television station WGBH in Boston said Thursday.
"Our assessment was that he was locked into contracts that wouldn't allow him to step back from those commitments," said WGBH spokesman Christopher Ridley. "It's really not a surprise for either side."WGBH officials downplayed the parting, saying it was an amicable end to nine months of negotiations with the do-it-yourself home show host. But Vila's agent, Ron Feiner, said the move had come as a surprise.
"Bob first knew about it when he read a copy of the press release," Feiner said from his New York office. "Sure he's upset about it. All his commercial activities were approved in advance by WGBH. We were surprised they used that as a reason not to renew him."
Producers had asked Vila about the possibility of ending his commercial contracts, but the veteran TV personality declined to cooperate, Ridley said.
Ridley said he did not expect the popular host's departure would hurt the show.