With his new reality show launching, Dr Chris talks emotions – and his renovation disaster

‘I have no regrets'
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Dr Chris Brown is somewhere in South America and a rooster keeps interrupting him.

“If you could see where I am, you would really laugh,” he tells TV WEEK over the loud crowing. “I’m legitimately in the middle of nowhere.”

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This is a big year for Chris. Not only is he hosting a new reality renovation show, Dream Home, as well as the latest season of Dancing With The Stars, he’s also working on a show he’s co-created, the animal adventure series Once In A Lifetime. That’s the reason for the trip to South America.

“I’m on a location recce,” he explains. 

It was in early 2023 that the vet-turned-presenter sent shockwaves through the TV industry by announcing he was leaving Network 10, where he’d been part of The Living Room team and co-host of I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!, for Channel Seven.

“It all happened at a really interesting time,” Chris, 45, remembers. “I’d just found out The Living Room wasn’t coming back. I was looking at the year ahead, and obviously I had I’m A Celebrity, which is a show I love a lot, but then Seven picked up a conversation and I was really flattered they considered me for quite a few roles and opportunities.”

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He says being able to make Once In A Lifetime was “a very big part” of him going from 10 to Seven.

“I’m not someone that likes to stay doing the same thing for too long. I like to feel fresh and feel like I’m doing something that stimulates me and challenges me – projects with heart and humour.”

Chris has no regrets over the move.

“Even though the network changes, everything else really remains the same,” he says. “I still have the same friends. The TV business is a small world and you work with the same people. I’ve always made sure I keep good relationships with people and so I’ve never really had any regrets.”

His former co-hosts on The Living Room – Amanda Keller, Miguel Maestre and Barry Du Bois – have supported him all the way.

“They’re lifelong friendships I have with the Living Room team,” he explains. “We had dinner only a couple of weeks ago. We’re all still so close and talk regularly.

“They’ve always been the first to congratulate me and wish me well, and the same goes with Miguel’s shows and Barry’s work and Amanda’s work. We’re all each other’s biggest supporters.”

Renovations expert Barry has been joking with Chris about the idea of him hosting a renovation show.  

“I’ve obviously promised I won’t use any of Barry’s classic catchphrases nor fashion nor hairstyles,” Chris says with a laugh.

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Dream Home sees six teams of two, either couples or siblings, renovating – sometimes even rebuilding – each other’s houses. With so many families struggling to meet mortgage repayments, winning a spot on the show is life-changing, as Chris saw when he dropped in on the teams at home to tell them they’d made it.

“You realise why being a part of this is going to mean so much to them,” he says. “I was emotional because it’s written all over their faces just how hard it is right now and I think people can relate to that.”

Among the teams are reno rookies and parents of four Brad and Mel. Chris was thrilled to discover that back in the 1990s, Brad was a member of boy band CDB.

“When they play ‘Let’s Groove’ in the show, I’m like, ‘Oh my God, I love that song!’ and that’s him right there.”

Is there any chance of viewers seeing Chris performing to the hit in an episode?

“There is something later on in the series that you’ll enjoy,” he promises.

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As host of Dream Home, Chris sees it as his job to offer the teams a bit of light relief. That includes telling them about his own home renovation disasters, the most memorable one being when he decided to put a carport under his house.

“The house was built on sand,” he explains, “so the more you dug out, the more sand filled in the hole, and eventually, we’d dug out so much sand underneath the house that the house, legitimately, nearly fell into the hole, which was about as stressful as it gets. When these guys are stressing over the choice of paint colours, at least I can remind them that it could be worse.”

Although Chris is happy to talk about his renovations, one thing he doesn’t tend to talk about is his relationships. He says he’s always been that way.

“Even in school I never really talked about who I was dating,” he explains. “It’s just how I’ve always lived my life. I think I was probably brought up that way and just enjoyed keeping the special stuff for the special people in my life.”

As for what he might want to do in the future, Chris says he never sets goals.

“I think if you’d told me five or 10 years ago what I’d be doing this year, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. Funny how it works out.”

Even though Chris loves taking on new challenges, there’s one constant in his life: he still works as a vet. 

“There’s nothing more grounding than walking into a vet hospital and being covered in four different kinds of bodily fluids within an hour,” he says.  

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