Penn Holderness is pacing. That’s what his wife Kim reveals while we chat on the phone about their new show on UP, The Holderness Family, which premieres March 26 at 10pmET/PT. In the charming series, we get to peek inside their cute, creative and crazy lives.
Penn Holderness — a former local TV sports anchor, and his wife Kim — a former local TV reporter, have used the overwhelming success of their family’s lovable viral video, “Xmas Jammies,” to help launch their unique family business. “It’s crazy how that video of us dancing in our jammies kind of put us on some people’s radar,” he says.
When the video was released December of 2013, Penn had already decide to leave the anchor desk to work with his wife behind the camera, but leaving a self-described “dream job,” required a huge leaf of faith. “We are very risk adverse people so it’s so fascinating to me to look back at what we did,” reveals Kim. “He had the job with the benefits; when he quit, we had to buy our own benefits. He was the one with the steady paycheck, I certainly didn’t. I still look back and think that we were nuts. For some reason, it just felt right; it felt like the only thing to do. It felt like if we didn’t do this thing — Penn quitting his job and trying to build this business — then we would have never been happy. It seemed like that was the only possible decision that could have been made.”
This first video has been watched nearly 16 million times, which certainly creates a lot of pressure for them to make each production bigger and better. “We have an endless reservoir of material — which is our family — so as long as we can see it and make it rhyme and make it sort of creative, it’s kind of been a fun formula for us … But, that was my professional answer,” laughs Penn. “My personal answer is Yeah, I’m terrified that I’m gonna wake up one day and have run out of ideas. And Bang! That’ll be it.” Adds Kim, “I’m also terrified that he’ll wake up and run out of ideas.”
Thankfully, neither has run out of ideas and while subsequent videos haven’t quite reached the lightning in a bottle status of “Xmas Jammies,” they’ve created really clever videos what have tackled ranging from Thanksgiving, to Father’s Day, to back to school.
Their company, Greenroom Communications, also produces viral videos for companies like Hidden Valley Ranch, Lovely Candy Company and H&R Block to create fresh and comedic new ways to advertise. In each episode of The Holderness Family, viewers follow the Kim and Penn through the creative process that goes into each project, and at the end of each episode, a brand-new video will premiere.
Kim and Penn aren’t the only Holdernesses (or Holderni as Penn says); the couple are the proud parents of Lola (8) and Penn Charles (5), who are frequent participants in their parent’s videos. “We say to them, ‘Hey, do you want to come be in a video with us?’ and we present it like something fun, or a game, or a chance to do something with the family, or a project,” reveals Kim. And Pen Charles and Lola are usually their willing and charming accomplices.
But when it came time to invite TV cameras into their home, Kim admits that at first, Lola was skeptical. That changed after the kids got to know the crew and when Lola discovered that cameras had captured moments that were important to her. “She was so excited that they had captured her basketball game,” says Kim. “She didn’t know that they were there — so the fact that they had captured these really cool moments of the basketball game — you should have seen her face!”
The Holderness Family is produced by Figure 8 Films, the same production company what produces Bringing Up Bates for UP and 19 Kids … and Counting! for TLC. I asked if either Kim or Penn have reached out to the Duggar or Bates families for advice on how to handle the pressures of fame and they laughed:
Penn: It’s not because we’re trying to ignore them, but they have 20 kids (Kim: And they’re rock stars!) so they’re in a completely different league from us.
Kim: It’s really sad that we have 2 kids and can’t handle them, and they have 19 and do a great job.
Penn: We’re almost embarrassed to talk to them.
Kim: We are such a hot mess with the two kids, but that’s a great idea… I should give them a call…
Now that their show is about to premiere, I asked Penn and Kim what they hope viewers will find when they tune in. “I hope that our show will portray family life in a very real way. We are working parents; we show the life of working parents in a real way, but also in a positive way,” says Kim. “At the end of the day, Penn made this career choice, and I made this career choice because we wanted to spend more time with out family.” Penn, the family pie-in-the-sky dreamer, has his hopes set high: “We hope it’s like Modern Family; Kim and I watch Modern Family and we feel that the show must have a hidden camera in our house because all of these things happen to us.” They’re excited to give a glimpse inside the hip, self-deprecating and charmingly messy family that people have grown to love through their series of hilarious videos. “I imagine that people thing we’re a weird Stepford Family on Steroids,” laughs Penn, “But we have the same challenges, only magnified by all of the things that are going on in our lives.”
The Holderness Family > UP > Thursdays at 10pmET beginning March 26.