From the age of seven, Kit Redmond knew she wanted to be either a singer or a television journalist. She decided on the day former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau campaigned in her home town of Coburg, accompanied by the national press, that journalism was her calling. She was fascinated with the reporting process and telling stories that could change or influence the world. She has been a reporter, TV host, network production executive, showrunner and executive producer for over thirty years.
When Kit graduated from Ryerson in 1980, she was awarded the E.U. (Ted) Shrader Memorial Award as the top graduate in Broadcast Journalism and was hired by the CBC as a reporter based out of Saskatoon. After marrying fellow CBC employee Norm Bolen, she moved to the arts and entertainment sector and became the host of It’s All Here. For thirteen years she worked either for, or with, the CBC as a freelancer concurrently raising her young family in Toronto and then Ottawa.
In 2004, Kit co-founded Toronto-based RTR Media Inc. with popular design guru Debbie Travis and Hans Rosenstein, eventually becoming the sole owner. Her company is known for its expert hosts and producing inventive, highly-rated renovation shows focussing on home, design, construction, and real estate. She won the Canadian Screen award three times as best lifestyle producer for the hit show Income Property with Scott McGillvray (HGTV Canada/USA).
In her Barry Hobin designed Glebe townhome, she starts every day with an hour of yoga on the roof-top terrace. The home showcases her impressive art collection of soulful pieces that fit beautifully into the vibrant space, where Ottawa At Home visited to get to know this Canadian producer better.
WHERE DOES AN IDEA FOR A SHOW BEGIN? In factual television we look for real people doing interesting things and find out who they are, what they are doing and what their passions are. Next, we research to see if our idea would appeal to a broad audience and then build a show around them. It is then pitched to a network and, if they like it, they will either do paper or tape visual development which can lead to a TV series. This whole process takes about two years from conception of idea, and then five years to know if you have a real hit. Perseverance, passion and patience win.
HOW HAS YOUR BUSINESS EVOLVED? I used to build a show, now I build business models and companies while learning about entrepreneurship and financing because the media is changing so quickly. You have to get ahead of that curve and look to the future. Oprah used to say if you turn to look behind you, you would lose sight of the finish line. It is all about creating content for print, radio, and television, YouTube or Instagram. We have to adapt to where our audience is and make it relevant. Seventy percent of media is consumed on smart phones and that is the challenging part today.
HOW IS YOUR PERSONAL STYLE INFLUENCED BY YOUR PROGRAMS? Our audience sees designers and contractors working together to bring you that final big reveal. We work with amazing talents whom I admire and respect. We are filming a new HGTV USA show in Mississippi and the team describes their creative style as tobacco and roses, a combination of manly and feminine. I needed new bedding for my home and when I saw the first reveal I bought everything on that bed. I would not have had the skill to pull it together in the way that the design team had done.
WHAT ARE SOME NEW EXCITING TRENDS? Millenials like to re-purpose and they cherish old things. It is a post-modernist approach where you take the best of the old and combine it with modernity. My condo has a 1930s to 1950s feel and vibe. The new richer styles I am seeing are far more eclectic. I don’t know if they totally appeal to me as I like cleaner lines. My husband likes more and I like less. This is something we go back and forth on, but we balance that out.
ARE YOU A DECORATING ENTHUSIAST YOURSELF? I do not consider myself a strong decorator and value the inspired designers I am fortunate to work with. It is important they know what my lifestyle is like. I am a big believer in the arts and crafts movement where objects have to be beautiful and useful at the same time.