Reality Check: Pitt grad joins fray of HGTV contest 'Brother vs. Brother'

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For Christy Biberich, a family feud turned out to be a golden opportunity.

Not her family, of course, but that of HGTV stars Drew and Jonathan Scott. Known as the "Property Brothers," from their show on the network, the identical twins are launching their new show "Brother vs. Brother" Sunday at 10 p.m.

Experts in home renovations, the Scotts each will mentor a five-member team of talented do-it-yourselfers in a quest to see who can make the most valuable improvements in a short amount of time. Ms. Biberich, 33, who graduated from Grove City High School and the University of Pittsburgh, is a member of Team Drew.

"He assembled his team [judging] from our qualities and experience, what we bring to the table," said Ms. Biberich, who owns her own Los Angeles-based firm, Christy B Design.

She tried out in an open call with thousands of others, and it wasn't until she was selected that HGTV revealed she'd be working with the Scotts.

After each week's assignment, the losing team's mentor has to send home a member of his staff. Promotional materials hint that Team Drew comprises a more traditional renovation aesthetic, while Team Jonathan's group are more "rock star."

Funny but true: The contestants were housed together in West Hollywood, five minutes from where Ms. Biberich lives.

"But I wasn't allowed to stay at home. That was bizarre," she said.

Ms. Biberich studied art, history of art and architecture at Pitt, and after working in costume and set design in college, she considered a career in the theater world.

"[But] like so many good things in life, [my design career] almost started as an accident," she said.

She was working as a professional organizer, which was a fairly new field at the time. Her art and design background helped her develop a following among home renovators, and eight years ago she started her own firm.

Ms. Biberich now is a project manager, working with contractors and architects on whole-house renovations. She and her old college roommate had moved to California years ago to see what it would be like to live in a warm-climate big city, and she never left.

Her rebranded website,, is still under construction.

"Brother vs. Brother" isn't her first stint on reality television, having been a guest on another network's DIY program.

As if she weren't busy enough with the show's debut and a rebranded business, Ms. Biberich is getting married in less than two weeks: "It's going to be beautiful, and I am not going to have a Bridezilla moment -- I swear."

She met her fiance through, something she never expected. Friends persuaded her to set up a profile, and for the heck of it, she came across a nice guy whom she thought she'd help.

"I sent him an email, critiquing his profile," she said, laughing at the audacity. "I told him I wasn't really interested, but he says now, 'It doesn't matter what you were writing to me; you were a cute girl contacting me. Of course I was going to write back.' "

So, she's not shy. And that's just the type of person "Brother vs. Brother" wants on the show.

'Nerd' rules 'Camp'

For the second consecutive week on "Summer Camp" (USA, Thursdays), DuBois native Chuck Lines exceeded expectations and led the guys to victory in the color war.

In a s'mores-based challenge that was disappointing in its level of graham cracker/chocolate engagement, the campers had to see who could hang on the longest to a big marshmallow-y object suspended off the ground.

Explaining that it was a matter of science, not physical strength, Mr. Lines outlasted them all. When it came time for elimination, the dudes sent home Erin Cosgrove.

'Runway' starts with a jump

Season 12 of "Project Runway" (Lifetime, Thursdays) kicked off with a high-flying challenge: Create a designer look using parachutes. It was the usual first-episode runway show: two fabulous designs and a couple of truly hideous looks. Also a first: one eco-conscious designer sent his model down to the runway without makeup, shoes or styled hair.

The judges applauded his convictions, then told him to knock it off and complete the look next time.

There are a few twists to the judging this year, and mentor Tim Gunn will be allowed to save one contestant from elimination. Also new: The network has a synced second screen component through its website. Viewers will be able to weigh in on the best and worst designs at various times in the program, watch related videos, check blogs and view designer portfolios.

Reality Emmy nods

And speaking of Mr. Gunn, the Emmy nominations arrived Thursday morning with few surprises in the reality program host category. He and Heidi Klum share one for "Runway," and Cat Deeley scored another well-deserved nomination for "So You Think You Can Dance." Same for Tom Bergeron of "Dancing With the Stars." Anthony Bourdain was nominated for "The Taste."

But the rest of the field was tired -- "American Idol's" Ryan Seacrest, and, much as we adore Betty White, does she really need an Emmy nom in this category for "Betty White's Off Their Rockers"?

Two great choices would have been RuPaul Charles of Logo's "RuPaul's Drag Race" and MTV's Nev Schulman on "Catfish." Also, Phil Keoghan of nine-time winning best show "The Amazing Race" wasn't even nominated.


Maria Sciullo: or 412-263-1478 or @MariaSciulloPG.


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