The Washington Post

Eddie George tears up turf on new reality show on NBC, ‘American Dream Builders’

Eddie George was too busy charging through defenses as an NFL running back to stop and inspect the stadium turf. Now retired, he’s turning a critical eye to home building and design as a judge on a new reality television show.

George joins designer Nate Berkus and interior decorator Monica Pedersen on “American Dream Builders,” debuting March 23 on NBC.

For George, the show is a chance to make use of his college degree in landscape architecture from Ohio State University, where he won the Heisman Trophy in 1995.

He jokes that he had no one to discuss his passion with during his nine-year career playing for the Tennessee Titans and Dallas Cowboys.

Eddie George of the television show "American Dream Builders" (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

“This opportunity presented itself for me not only to show the talents of a landscape architect but also to be creative,” he said.

After graduating, George opened the Edge Group, a planning and architecture firm with offices in Nashville and Columbus, Ohio. He later earned an MBA from Northwestern University.

Berkus, who is not a football fan, said he had never heard of George before the show. Berkus sometimes climbed on the shoulders of George, who is 6-foot-3, to better inspect crown molding in homes they judged.

“You can make a room look fabulous, but if you are in there for about five minutes and you notice all of the small things that are wrong, it can go south really fast,” George said. “One of the things that I’ve learned on this show is how to truly go into a space and gauge it for what it is and how much thoughtfulness has gone into it and how the details really speak volumes, down to the knobs that you use on the drawers or the counters.”

“American Dream Builders” features 12 contestants divided into two teams to redesign and renovate a home inside and out in a matter of days. Each week, one contestant is eliminated until two reach the finale, where they renovate two Southern California homes while competing for a cash prize.

Viewers can go online to enter a contest in which the show’s winner will renovate their home.

“It’s interesting to see the contestants react to Eddie’s judgment week after week, because if they don’t get the details right, he notices every time,” Berkus said.

George said he has learned some new lingo, such as “subway tile,” “backsplash” and “chinoiserie” (a style of art that reflects Chinese motifs).

Pedersen said George’s realistic perspective contrasted sharply with the show’s high-end designers, who sometimes got carried away.

“They like really pristine, clean lines and these artistic-looking rooms,” George said. “I’m like, ‘Is it comfortable? Can you sit here comfortably and watch television and have a conversation?’ And nine times out of 10, it’s no.”

Pedersen added, “If Eddie can’t watch football wherever they put the sofa, he wants to send them home.”

George said working on the show made him realize his own home could use a makeover.

“I’m ready to move out of my house and start from scratch,” he said.

— Associated Press

Show Comments

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.