Jesse Tyler Ferguson Interview: ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,’ ‘Modern Family’
“It’s such a profound emotion to know that within a week, you’re going to be able to change a family’s life forever,” gushes Jesse Tyler Ferguson. After concluding an 11-year run on “Modern Family,” the actor has a new gig hosting the HGTV relaunch of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” Watch the exclusive video interview above.
After being a fan of the initial run of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” Ferguson describes a sort of “out of body experience” getting to provide the same joy to families that he previously watched original host Ty Pennington give. “There is a rush of goodwill that comes over you when you open the doors to that bus and walk out and greet the community that has gathered,” the actor reveals.
Providing a positive experience to the families on the show, and the viewers, is paramount for Ferguson. “I never saw myself as the face of a reality TV show,” he admits. “I am first and foremost an actor, I love acting.” But the opportunity to directly impact people’s lives made him reconsider the genre. “It felt like the world was in a place where it needed more feel-good TV,” he says. Being part of an experience which helped families in need had a deep effect on the performer. Ferguson describes the hosting job as “being one of the most profound experiences of my career… it felt like I got to give 10 Christmas mornings to people.”
Ferguson believes his job as host is to “extract” the stories of each family, to “go in and piece out different emotional threads.” In many ways he is a conduit for the audience to understand the struggle each clan has endured and what home alterations will improve their lives. “It was a lot of different hats that I put on,” the host admits. “I’ve been doing scripted TV for 11 years, so to go out without a script and just sort of wing it was exciting for me.”
That scripted series is of course ABC’s “Modern Family,” for which Ferguson received five consecutive Emmy nominations. The show recently concluded it’s run with an emotional finale. “There’s a lot of pressure around ending a show,” says Ferguson. “It feels impossible to get right, but I think we did the best possible version we could do.” All the main characters embarked on new journeys, with Ferguson’s Mitchell moving to Missouri with husband Cam (Eric Stonestreet). Though the large family unit is split up, the porch light is symbolically left on to invite a return.
Just doing a table read of the script made Ferguson tear up, but filming the final episode proved incredibly moving. “The last day of shooting was incredibly profound… I cried in a way that I was not expecting,” he admits. “None of us wanted that day to end.”