Country music star and Charleston native Darius Rucker is headlining a new home improvement TV show backed by the South Carolina Department of Tourism and will address the holy city’s role in the ‘slavery.
Design Network’s “Rucker’s Reno” will be widely available later this month and will follow the solo artist and frontman of Hootie & the Blowfish as he “brings to life” a historic mansion on Broad Street.
As well as following the restoration and redesign of the house, the six-part series highlights local attractions. Rucker meets “local chefs, entrepreneurs, fishermen and friends” on the show and participates in outdoor activities. Rucker will be the viewers’ “private guide to Charleston,” according to a Design Network announcement.
The streaming network also said the show “faces history” and addresses the history of slavery in Charleston.
Rucker told Architectural Digest that the project was to bring home the pre-Civil War era, “something that was once a painful reminder of that history,” and make it “a place that people who look like me can be really proud of.”
“I’m a guy who loves stories, and I can’t wait to tell this one,” Rucker said in the trailer for the series, which features Betsy Berry of B. Berry Interiors and local architect Neil Stevenson.
The trailer also shows an aerial view of the sprawling residence at 119 Broad St. The Catholic Diocese of Charleston sold it to a group that included Rucker nearly four years ago. Known as Morton-Waring House, the property was built around 1803, according to the Charleston Museum. The marble facade was added in the early 1900s.
The house, which sits across from St. John the Baptist Cathedral, changed hands in 2018 when it hit the full list price of $6.5 million. The buyer was a newly formed entity called McCuru Properties LLC. Rucker’s role in the business was not disclosed at the time of the sale.
“I think this house is going to be really inspiring because of where it is, because of what it is,” he said in the trailer.
Rucker is not new to projects that showcase his original state.
Just over two years ago, SC’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism asked the singer to be a tourism ambassador to help attract travelers, but the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed some collaborative projects with the star.
Rucker’s status as an “official ambassador” was announced in early 2020, during the Governor’s Tourism and Travel Conference. Rucker made a surprise appearance at the event and performed seven of his hits. Between the tunes, Rucker told the room he was “honored to promote the state he loves more than anything.”
A photograph of Rucker with a guitar appeared on the cover of all new South Carolina tourist brochures for that year, and the tourism department planned to feature him in other promotions and have the singer appear at events. major tourist events throughout this year.
State Tourism Director Duane Parrish had praised the fact that Rucker was not only originally from South Carolina, but still lived here.
“He’s been promoting South Carolina on stage for years,” Parrish said after the 2020 announcement. “We’re just making it official.”
The pandemic brought the state’s travel industry to a virtual standstill just weeks after Rucker was announced as ambassador. Initially, the deal was for the 2020 calendar year, but the singer has continued to work with the state beyond that.
Discover South Carolina is the presenting sponsor of “Rucker’s Reno” and spent $500,000 in marketing dollars on the program.
The opening and closing title cards of each episode will indicate that the show is presented by Discover South Carolina, and tourism in South Carolina will be highlighted in social posts and other promotional materials.
“As the Tourism Ambassador for South Carolina, this was a unique opportunity to partner with Darius and highlight the Lowcountry as a destination,” the SCPRT said in a statement.
The agency worked with the show’s producers to feature popular activities like golf, fishing and boating and helped schedule meetings for the show between Rucker and prominent Charleston residents like the sweetgrass maker Corey Alston, artist Jonathan Greene, Charleston Tea Garden’s Bill Hall and Lisa. Anderson at the John Rutledge House Inn.
The series debuts on the Design Network May 30 at 8 p.m. It was made available exclusively on the Samsung TV Plus streaming platform earlier this week.
Rucker made another recent announcement to boost tourism last month. He has rolled out plans for “Riverfront Revival,” a two-day music festival to be held at North Charleston’s Riverfront Park. Described by Rucker as a “bucket list dream,” the Oct. 8-9 event will feature 18 acts, including Rucker.