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Wayne Independent - Honesdale, PA
  • Honesdale native to host HGTV special

  • Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in a home of a celebrity? Brian Balthazar, a Honesdale native, goes on a quest to find out in the upcoming special HGTV special "I Bought a Famous House."
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  • Honesdale native to host HGTV special
    - Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in a home of a celebrity? Brian Balthazar, a Honesdale native, goes on a quest to find out in the upcoming special HGTV special "I Bought a Famous House."
    The special, which airs, Dec. 14 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, allows views to take a tour of houses previously owned by Madonna, Frank Sinatra, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver and Paris Hilton.
    Balthazar, who grew up in Honesdale, still frequently visits his hometown. He has been traveling between New York City and Los Angeles shooting and promoting the special, but a favorite place to visit is still Honesdale.
    When he is in New York City, traveling home "is an easy trip to make in a day," he said, adding that it is a place he visits "to go escape, relax and see family."
    Balthazar came home when he was displaced by Hurricane Sandy to take shelter in Honesdale with is family. "Honesdale is still very much home to me," he said. "It's where I spend every holiday, and regularly come to escape the hectic pace of things here in the city. I spent several days back home, even though it was stressful not knowing what the state of my current home (was), I found great comfort in the familiar faces and places that make Honesdale so special to me."
    What makes the special a must-see is that "there is something for everybody" whether you "love real estate or love celebrities."
    The show also lets you "be a fly on the wall" in these extravagant homes.
    Balthazar said, "Homes are such deeply personal spaces," which was evident from his experience walking back in time with Frank Sinatra, Jr. Watching Sinatra connect "with his childhood memories was incredibly powerful. Even after 60 years, he still notices even the slightest changes."
    He also said another aspect that makes the homes, and their new owners interesting, is what they choose to do to the homes. The owners of Paris Hilton's 3,000 square-foot space just off the Sunset strip, rent out the home as place to party in style.
    Others, like the owner of Madonna's former pad, decided to make some tweaks to bold design choices. The home, now owned by fashion designer Leon Max, decided to have the large white stripes painted on the outside of the home, painted over to give it a more traditional curb appeal.
    Page 2 of 2 - To find out the stories inside the walls of these famous homes, tune in Dec. 14 to HGTV.
    About Brian Balthazar: For Brian Balthazar, hosting "I Bought A Famous House" blends the best aspects of a guy who by many accounts lives a "'double life.'"
    As a Director of Programming for HGTV, Balthazar supervises the development and production of many of HGTV's most popular shows, including House Hunters, House Hunters International, Selling New York, Selling LA, Celebrity Holiday Homes and more.
    But in his "other" life, is a TV host, pundit, pop culture enthusiast who makes regular appearances on television as an entertainment journalist.
    As editor of the website POPgoesTheWeek.com, Balthazar serves as a source for entertainment news, pop culture trends and gossip on many national television programs, including The Wendy Williams Show, Good Afternoon America, Showbiz Tonight, the TODAY show and more.
    Before joining HGTV and launching his website, Brian developed and launched the fourth hour of NBC's Today show with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb. While at NBC, he also worked as a senior producer and a features reporter, appearing on TODAY, Countdown With Keith Olbermann and United Airlines In-Flight.
    Brian also appears in many NYC comedy clubs, performing at such legendary venues as Caroline's Comedy Club, Comix, Gotham Comedy Club and Standup New York.
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