On a quiet street in West Salt Lake, two houses will soon rise thanks to America's talk-show queen and a Utah-filmed television series.
Two low-income families should be living in the Habitat for Humanity homes on Goshen Street, near 800 South and 1040 West, by this fall.An episode of "Promised Land" will be filmed at the site of one of the homes April 2. Last month, producers presented a $65,000 check to the Salt Lake Valley Habitat for Humanity. And the show's stars have pledged to finish the house themselves.
Five hundred Utah viewers of the "Oprah" Winfrey show have applied to build another house next door later this summer.
A target completion date for the houses has been set for August. This week, Habitat officials pored over the financial information of prospective families, who will help in the building of their future homes.
"Promised Land" is a spinoff of "Touched by an Angel," which is also filmed in Utah. The CBS show stars Gerald McRaney, Wendy Phillips, Celeste Holm and Austin O'Brien.
The Oprah house is part of the television megastar's "Angel Network," which is raising money for special projects for the needy. Earlier this year, the talk show host challenged her viewers to build 205 Habitat for Humanity homes in the United States.
Target stores have donated $65,000 to sponsor the Oprah house in Utah.
That Hollywood descended on the Salt Lake Valley Habitat for Humanity surprised no one more than executive director Yasamina Roque.
"I wish I could say that we had Hollywood connections," Roque said with a laugh. "All we did is pick up the phone and say `hello.' "
Then, the officials came to her office.
"They came in with their dark glasses and cell phones and, in the middle of the conversation, Sylvester Stallone called" one of the producers, Roque said.
When Roque visited the "Promised Land" set, she was struck by the sincerity and enthusiasm of the stars.
"They stopped the scene and came over. Gerald McRaney said `I'm going to do the framing on this house. I did it with my daddy.' And he had tears in his eyes."
Roque said Habitat families are also going to be used in the filming of the two-part "Promised Land" episode. The houses will be part of a neighborhood of Habitat homes on Goshen Street.
"I am just beside myself," Roque said. "Hollywood came to Habitat for Humanity. We're just thrilled beyond belief."