Home improvement TV show This Old House looks a little different this season: Roger Cook, who had been This Old House’s garden and landscape contractor on the show since 1988, exited the show in January 2020. So what happened to Roger, and why did he decide to hang up the gardening shears? We’ve got the full story.
What happened to Roger on ‘This Old House’?
In June 2018, Roger told fans he was reducing his involvement with This Old House and its spinoff Ask This Old House to tend to “several” health issues.
“Some viewers may have noticed that I haven’t been myself over the last season,” he wrote in an open letter on the This Old House website. “In fact, I have been dealing with several health issues that have made performing on television more difficult. … I truly appreciate our fans’ dedication and the concern for my well-being. Please respect my family’s privacy at this time. Rest assured that I am in good hands, and please know that I am grateful for all of your support.”
In January 2020, This Old House host Kevin O’Connor announced on The Tonight Show that Roger would be departing the show and that Jenn Nawada would be replacing him as the show’s official landscaper — or, as she described it, stepping into his “huge boots.”
Roger addressed his This Old House exit in a statement on the show’s website a week later. “While I’d love nothing more than to continue appearing on the shows, I can no longer participate as I’d like. But I’m not going anywhere,” he wrote.
“I’ll still spend time with Kevin, Richard, Tommy, Norm and the entire team. There’s nothing like that group of pros … and human beings. I’m truly blessed to have worked with the best in the business," he continued.
"My friend and fellow pro Jenn Nawada will now serve as the Landscape Contractor for the show, an honor she richly deserves," Roger added. "It’s been an absolute honor being part of the show all these years. I’m proud of what we created, and that we’ve touched so many fans. Thank you for all of the good wishes and support.”
Dan Suratt, CEO of This Old House Ventures, paid tribute to Roger, writing, “For over 35 years, Roger Cook has provided expert landscaping and gardening advice to millions upon millions of viewers. But perhaps more importantly, he has displayed a sense of humor and warmth while going about his craft. As he stepped back from This Old House and Ask This Old House the last few seasons, Roger has maintained that grace and good-natured attitude, and endeared himself even more to his fans.”
Dan continued: “Today we welcome Jenn as the next This Old House Landscape Contractor, and thank Roger for representing the best of This Old House. Quite simply, This Old House would not be what it has become without Roger and all his contributions … We thank Roger from the bottom of our hearts for all of his hard work and dedication to This Old House — we are forever grateful.”
This Old House Season 42 kicked off on Oct. 1. Check local listings for airtimes.