Extreme Makeover uses “innovative scheme” to keep families from paying taxes.

Extreme Makeover uses “innovative scheme” to keep families from paying taxes.
As gifts from show producers, renovations done to a home on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition are taxable, and that could end up costing families who participate hundreds of thousands of dollars. But Variety reports that Endemol “has an innovative scheme to get around at least the initial tax hit. The company leases the property for the purposes of shooting the show for 14 days. Any improvements made during the lease are tax-exempt.” The producers of FOX’s Renovate My Family, Rocket Science Laboratories, “decided to pay families a lump sum to cover tax liabilities. But since the payment itself is also classified as taxable income, they adjust the amount so in the end the families owe zero.” One family featured on that show, the Rosiers, received a 1099 form showing $529,148 in income from the renovations. Variety reports that Rocket Science is “offering $215,000 to cover their tax liabilities.” The company did the same thing with Joe Millionaire 2‘s David Smith, who “won a 70-acre Texas ranch”; Rocket Science “covered the taxes on the $500,000 gift.”

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.

A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.