TV & VIDEO
The award-winning WGBH public television series “This Old House” has named a new host after declining to renew the contract of longtime host Bob Vila. Stephen Thomas, a writer, craftsman and sailor, will make his debut in October when “This Old House” begins its 11th season with a program on the conversion of an 1835 barn in Concord. Thomas, 36, a native of California now living in Boston, was picked from more than 400 resumes and dozens of interviews, station officials said. He has spent his career renovating historic buildings, writing and sailing. WGBH announced March 30 that it would not renew Vila’s contract and station officials cited concern over Vila’s outside endorsement contracts. One month earlier, Weyerhaeuser Co., the show’s primary underwriter, had withdrawn sponsorship of “This Old House,” citing Vila’s endorsement of a product by a rival company. Vila had been earning about $500,000 a year in endorsements for companies such as Time-Life Books, Boyle-Midway Household Products and American Electric Power.