Identical twins Jonathan and Drew Scott have built an ever-expanding empire on HGTV.
Laying claim to a sizeable share of the network’s real estate, the home-improvement pros and bros from Canada star in a slew of shows: “Property Brothers,” “Buying and Selling” and the reality competition series “Brother vs. Brother,” which starts its second season at 8 p.m. Sunday.
A four-part series about the family compound in Las Vegas is their next small-screen project, slated to air around Thanksgiving.
When the licensed contractor (Jonathan) and real estate agent (Drew) aren’t making TV programs or tending to their real-life real estate business ventures, Jonathan — an illusionist — performs magic shows.
Drew’s docket includes plans for a feature film directorial debut on a rom-com called “Wingman,” one of several projects in the works at the brothers’ production company.
All of this begs the question: When do they sleep?
“What is this sleep thing that you speak of?” asked Jonathan (who’s single).
“I’ve never heard of it,” chimed in Drew (who’s not).
The Scott boys sat down for an interview earlier this spring at the Chicago Theatre, where they were hawking the network’s upcoming programming to advertisers.
They’re smooth salesmen. The brothers’ entrepreneurial spirit started at an early age while growing up in Vancouver.
“Our first business was when we were 7 years old, making coat hangers,” Jonathan said about their first “company,” JAM Enterprises, an acronym for Jon, Andrew and Mom. They wove colorful nylon around metal hangers and sold them door-to-door.
“We ended up hooking up with this woman who had a chain of American paraphernalia stores in Japan,” he said. “She was buying them by the thousands.”
Added Drew: “We were always go-getters. Where some kids would collect pop bottles, have paper routes, we always thought, “We need to make more money.’ ”
One thing they loved almost as much as profits: performing. They started clowning around — literally — when they were teens.
“We were making, like, $50 an hour as kids,” said Jonathan, who’s still adept at walking on stilts. “Eventually I didn’t like doing all the make-up so I started doing magic instead.”
Both brothers dabbled in acting, landing bit roles in various TV shows. They wanted to pursue film and TV projects but weren’t so keen about the starving-artist lifestyle.
“We graduated high school and that’s when we decided to invest in real estate to fund our creative endeavors,” Drew said.
They bought their first fixer-upper at age 18 for $250 down, parlaying that into a $50,000 payday. They hammered away at the real estate thing for about a decade before a production company approached them with an idea about a show devoted to creating people’s dream homes.
“They wanted to do a male-female host combo,” Jonathan said about the series that would become “Property Brothers.” “They figured Drew’s quite effeminate, it works.”
Anyone who’s watched a Scott brothers show knows that Jonathan and Drew are quick to poke fun at each other. They’ve had their whole lives to practice. None of their programs plays up their sibling rivalry as much as “Brother vs. Brother,” where each of them mentors a team of home improvement experts as they race against the clock to rehab properties. Drew helmed the winning team in season one, so Jonathan is determined to even the score.
They’re both determined to make room in the spotlight for another brother, JD.
“This year, the big push for us has been getting JD more camera time,” Jonathan said about their oldest sibling. JD will be in the upcoming Vegas special and he’s featured in behind-the-scenes videos that will be posted each week on HGTV.com in conjunction with “Brother vs. Brother.”
Any other Scott brothers we should be on the lookout for?
“We’re cloning right now,” Jonathan said. “Stay tuned for more.”