'Domino Masters,' new competition show, features Long Island carpenter Nick Greene
A union carpenter from Ronkonkoma is on one of the 16 teams competing on "Domino Masters," a new Fox companion series to "Lego Masters." The new show features not only expansive "builds" as seen on "Lego," but also equally expansive "topples" as chains of dominoes snake across sets and through Rube Goldberg-like devices. The show premieres Wednesday at 9:01 p.m. on WNYW/5.
"Dominoes are very basic — they're flat, low to the ground, not much scale to them," says Nick Greene, 43, a member of the New York City District Council of Carpenters Local 45. "So you start adding stuff to build them up high and make it interesting," he says by phone from his home. "It was cool getting to incorporate the knowledge I have in building things and trying to scale it down and get the imagination going. At work, you're handed a set of blueprints. Here you could build whatever you wanted, and the amount of props and stuff they had for us to use … ," he marvels, his voice trailing off.
Hosted by Eric Stonestreet ("Modern Family"), with sportscaster Joe Buck announcing and a panel of judges comprising actor and math author Danica McKellar, NFL star turned art gallery owner Vernon Davis and professional chain-reaction and domino artist Steve Price, "Domino Masters" asks 16 teams of three to create domino runs based on a specific theme each episode. It shot last spring in a hangar at the Santa Monica, California, airport.
Greene — assigned to the team "Construction Crew" alongside Luke Greenway, of Seattle, and Hugh Benjamin, of Huntington Valley, Pennsylvania, neither of whom he had met before — came to "Domino Masters" after auditioning for CBS' blue-collar competition "Tough as Nails" two years ago, he says. "They were looking for tradesmen for that show, and after a phone conversation or two they wanted to fly me out to California" for an in-person audition.
But since his fiancee, restaurant manager Kerri Steinmuller, with whom he has sons Nicholas, 10, and Garrett, 2, was pregnant with the latter, he reconsidered and "respectfully declined."
"And I guess one of the casting people on that show had something to do with this one as well," he said. "They gave me a call and asked if I would be interested in doing a different show where I would be using my building skills."
Born in Manhattan and raised in Queens' Glendale neighborhood, the son of the late Arthur and Patricia Greene, Nick Greene moved to Ronkonkoma years ago to be near Steinmuller's family. His elder son, he says, is "really into 'Lego Masters,' " hosted by actor Will Arnett. "As soon as I told my son about ... [getting on 'Domino Masters,'] he was super pumped. And the first thing he said," Greene recalls with a chuckle, "was, 'Is Will Arnett hosting it, too?' And I'm like, 'No. I know he did the did the voice of Lego Batman, but no, he's not the host.' "