El Dorado Hills got national coverage recently when an episode of House Hunters titled “Backyard Baseball in California” aired.
House Hunters on HGTV chronicles the process of finding and purchasing a home, with prospective homebuyers looking at three properties and submitting a bid on the one they like best. The show premiered in 1999.
Buyers Natalee and Pete Birdwell sought a larger home for themselves and their two young children. A former pitcher with the New York Mets until an injury sidelined his baseball career, Pete wanted a yard big enough for a batting cage and pitching mound.
Their real estate broker, Terry Jensen of Jensen Realty Group, sent in audition videos to the show in 2016. Out of thousands of submissions they were selected and the episode was filmed last summer.
Pete is originally from Spokane, Wash., and Natalee is from Palm Springs. Natalee said when she and her husband were visiting relatives in the area and saw El Dorado Hills Town Center, they were hooked on the community and knew they wanted to raise their children here.
House Hunters isn’t all reality TV, Natalee described. Some staging takes place that viewers don’t get to see. During filming the Birdwells were already in contract for the home they eventually bought in the Ridgeview neighborhood near Brooks Elementary School. Jensen made arrangements to make two other homes, one in El Dorado Hills and one in Rescue, look like contenders.
And though conflict is a part of any well-scripted show, the show portrayed Natalee as wanting a more traditional home while Pete was portrayed as wanting something more rustic.
“The show made me have to say something,” Natalee said, in case viewers don’t think she is 100 percent happy with their choice. “We both love our home.”