Erik Estrada to host ‘Divine’ home improvement show in Wilmington NC

Erik Estrada to host ‘Divine’ home improvement show in Wilmington NC

For those who grew up on (or were around for) network television shows of the late 1970s and early 1980s, Wilmington is about to get a visit from a familiar face.

Erik Estrada − who made his name as a star of NBC cops-and-crime drama “CHiPs,” on which he played the friendly, motorcycle-riding California Highway Patrol Officer Francis “Ponch” Poncherello from 1977 to 1983 − is coming to Port City to shoot a religious- and community-themed home improvement show called “Divine Renovations.”

Monty Hobbs, a longtime Wilmington film worker who is one of the show’s producers, said shooting will take place at several area locations beginning Sept. 26 and continuing into October.

Hobbs said he met Estrada at a convention in New Jersey seven or eight years ago, “And we kept in contact.”

The actor Erik Estrada will host the religious-themed home improvement show "Divine Renovations," which starts shooting Sept. 26 in the Wilmington area.

He said Estrada is the perfect host for the show he and co-producer Valerie Smaldone want to make because Estrada “wants to do meaningful work, not just show biz stuff,” Hobbs said. “When you think of happiness, you can’t deny that smile.”

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Estrada received a Golden Globe nomination for his work on “CHiPs,” which had enough of a cultural impact that it was later made into a 2017 movie and a 2010s stage musical, both spoofy takes on the TV show’s often-goofy tone.