Ever since he was a child, Nick Householder has had a fondness for build competitions.
“I loved building and making things as a kid,” Householder said. “I remember watching one of those build competition shows when I was a kid and turning to my brother and saying ‘I’m going to do that one day. That’s what I want to do.’”
After graduating from Navarre High School in 2008 and then from Auburn University with a Master’s in Aerospace Engineering in 2014, Householder returned to the area and started working for the Air Force on Eglin Air Force Base as a civilian Aerospace Engineer.
Two years after graduating from Auburn with his Master’s, the Science Channel started searching for new hosts for their hit television show “Mythbusters”.
“I saw that, and the child in me said ‘I want to apply for this,’” Householder said.
And he did just that.
Householder made an audition video, sent in an application, and put the video on YouTube. It wasn’t long after posting the video that his audition tape caught the eye of an independent casting director.
“Someone contacted me and said ‘You know what? You might be good on another show the Science Channel is developing.’ And, of course, I said ‘yes’,” Householder said.
Just as “Mythbusters” was searching for new hosts, Spectrum Production Company was looking for hosts for a show they were pitching to the Science Channel called “Street Science”.
After viewing Householder’s “Mythbusters” audition video and conducting some interviews, Spectrum flew him down to Tampa to do a “test run” on him to see how the engineer would interact with the two main hosts of the show, Kevin Delaney and Darren Dyk.
If the name Delaney sounds familiar, you probably know he serves as Jimmy Fallon’s “science guy” on the late night television show “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon”.
Dyk, Householder said, is the cinematographer mastermind on the show who helps capture a lot of the scenes in slow motion to give viewers a close-up look at what the eye typically can’t see.
Householder said he worked side-by-side with the two hosts during his trip to Tampa last summer and with the production crew, and Spectrum quickly contacted him back and asked him to tape some episodes of the show.
“They initially offered to bring me on for one episode of ‘Street Science’,” Householder said.
But after seeing Householder’s chemistry with the two other hosts, the production crew made him an offer he couldn’t refuse: a full time gig.
“I had to go to my boss (at Eglin) and ask if I could take a six- week leave of absence and fly back down to Tampa,” Householder said.
His boss granted him his leave and he began taping immediately after.
“We had such a tight turnaround on taping,” Householder said noting they had to tape a total of 10 episodes in that six-week time frame.
Eventually, Spectrum polished off taping in October and the footage was handed over to the Science Channel where they started airing the episodes in January.
The synopsis of the show is simple: the trio tries out different science experiments and demonstrates them to the public.
“We would come up with a series of experiments and we would find an appropriate setting and find people who interact with these things in their everyday life,” Householder said. “And then we would go to that location and show them these cool science demonstrations.”
Experiments such as creating man-made fire tornadoes, turning leaf blowers into homemade hover crafts and creating instant nitrogen clouds in front of live crowds. Householder said the trio had a full-time chemist working behind the scenes with them during the taping to help guide them through the experiments.
After all was said and done, Householder ended up with the nickname “Engineer Nick” on the show. And shortly after the show aired at the beginning of this year, locals started taking notice.
“My old science teacher at Navarre (High School) actually sent me a text message and said ‘Did I just see you on television?’” Householder said. “I get a random text message every once in a while from people who see me on the show.”
When asked if he would consider doing the television gig full- time, Householder said it would be a “big decision” for him.
“It’s a difficult proposition. I’m a scientist with a great job (here). At the same time, for a very significant portion of my life, being able to do work like we did on ‘Street Science’ was a dream of mine. In many ways it was a dream come true to work full time on a science television show and share my love of science with the rest of the world. The notion to do something I love so much full time is a very exciting proposition,” Householder said. “But there is a lot of job security that comes with working for the Air Force.”
Although the Science Channel wrapped up the season finale a few weeks ago, Householder said cable subscribers can watch full episodes on the Science Channel’s app “Science Go”. He also said that partial episodes of the show can be viewed online at www.sciencechannel.com.