Sullivan County Democrat
Callicoon, New York
March 1, 2013 Issue
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Contributed Photo

Brothers Ronnie, left, and Randy Florke, center, with Jesse Escue of Livingston Manor in a still from their new reality series on A&E based in Sullivan County. Ronnie hails from North Branch while Randy is a part-time Jeffersonville resident.

Florke hopes viewers
will flip for new series

Story by Jeanne Sager
JEFFERSONVILLE — Are you ready for your close up Sullivan County? Well, get there, because the small town is hitting the small screen this weekend.
On Saturday, Dec. 8 at 1 p.m., cable channel A&E will air the pilot of My Flipp’n Brother, a show part-time Jeffersonville resident Randy Florke hopes will becoming a long running series, all about how he renovates homes in Sullivan County.
Florke is owner of the Rural Connection, the real estate firm he started in 1997, a year after he first came to the Jeffersonville area. Although its main offices are in New York City, the homes they focus on are largely in the Sullivan County area, and that’s where viewers from around the nation will be sent this weekend courtesy of My Flipp’n Brother.
The show gets its name from the sometimes contentious, often hilarious relationship Florke has with his general contractor and brother, Ronnie Florke of North Branch. They’ll be joined onscreen by Project Manager Jesse Escue of Livingston Manor who adds his own flair for decorating… and driving Ronnie nuts.
The show, Randy explained to the Democrat, came together a year ago when he pitched it to his agent.
Already an author with several home design books on the shelves and editor at Country Living Magazine, he reasoned that people these days are getting information through reality shows. So why not a reality show about what he does, about flipping homes?
“People have said to me, ‘Your life is the reality show,’” Florke explained. “And by that they mean my life’s work, not my personal life!”
So he pitched a reality show on his life to his agent, who found a home with Back Roads Entertainment, the production company run by an Emmy-nominated producer who has produced hits like Pawn Stars and American Restoration.
Shooting began in July, just as Florke’s partner of 20 years, Sean Patrick Maloney, was heating up his campaign for Congress in the 18th Congressional District.
The summer was, he admitted, “an interesting ride.”
“It’s one of those be careful what you wish for, you just might get it!”
As it turned out, Maloney won his Congressional bid last month. Now A&E has slated a 60-minute spot for the pilot of My Flipp’n Brother for this Saturday, December 8.
The way the show will go from here depends on the reaction of the viewers. Florke hopes they’ll relate to him, Ronnie and Escue. But more than that, the goal is to educate the viewers, to have them drawn in to learning about home renovation and design.
“The only way it’s going to be sustainable is if people are interested in learning, in the how-tos, the quick fixes,” Florke explained.
Along with them, Florke hopes the show can draw attention to Sullivan County and its real estate market.
“Between the recession and the uncertainty of hydrofracking, it’s been difficult to reignite interest in the real estate market in Sullivan County, but one of the things you’ll notice [about the show is] it makes Sullivan County look beautiful,” he said. “The countryside looks beautiful, Jeffersonville just looks stunning in the footage.”
In conjunction with the airing of the show this Saturday, Ronnie Florke and Jesse Escue will be throwing a viewing party at Welsh’s Cabin on Hessinger-Lare Road in Callicoon Center to celebrate, starting at noon.

The details on 'My
Flipp'n Brother'

What: My Flipp’n Brother follows the crazy antics of home renovators, flippers and brothers Randy and Ronnie Florke. In each episode, Randy (the brains), Ronnie (the brawn) and their friend: interior designer Jesse Escue (the referee), attempt to purchase, renovate, and sell homes in Upstate New York. Will drama between these very different personalities destroy makeover plans? Or can they laugh off their struggles, finish the job and turn a profit?
Who: Realtor, editor, stylist, designer, and renovator are the range of hats worn comfortably by Randy Florke. He is as sought after for his design expertise as he is for his access to tantalizing country properties. Originally from Iowa, with permanent roots in Upstate New York, Randy’s innovative sense of style can be found in the pages of Country Living and as a regular media contributor with appearances on the Today Show and features in Metropolitan Home. In addition, Randy’s notable works as an author, including his recently released Simple Sustainable Style: Ways To Make Your House Your Home, all conspire to make Randy Florke a household name.
When: Saturday, December 8, 2012 at 1p.m. EST
Where: Debuting on the A&E channel (Check your local listings)

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