ABC fires Ty Pennington, producer from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

This satirical story is part of the April 1, 2006 edition of reality blurred.

ABC has fired Extreme Makeover: Home Edition host Ty Pennington and his producer because of events that transpired at a New Orleans shoot last week.

While workers installed drywall in a home destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, Ty put on a yellow raincoat and hat, tripped the house’s fire prevention sprinkler system, and ran through the house screaming, “Oh my god! Look out! Here comes Hurricane Ty! Craaazy!” Later, he submerged himself in a kiddie pool and screamed, “Oh, you babies! Water’s fun!”

During the reveal of the house’s new kitchen, the family’s 14-year-old son said on camera, “I’m just happy to not have to live in a shelter anymore.” Ty’s producer pulled him aside and whispered in his ear, “That is not why you are happy, you little ingrate. You are happy because you have a brand-new kitchen courtesy of Sears. Sears! Now try it again.” Then she kneed him in the balls, turned to the camera crew, and said, “Oh, yes, tears! Action!”

Reached for comment, the producer said, “What was I supposed to do? Those pedophiles at Idol got the rights to Daniel Powter’s ‘Bad Day,’ so how else was I going to make the audience weep? Besides, no one even looked at or said the brand name of their beautiful new toaster oven. Can you blame me?”

The network has placed increased pressure on the show to up the drama in recent months, and has done its part to maintain viewers’ interest in the hit show by scheduling new episodes every nine weeks. The network would only say in an official statement that Ty left for “personal reasons” and to “pursue other opportunities” and that “ABC wishes him the best in his future endeavors back on cable.”

Off the record, an ABC executive said, “In no way do we condone the actions of Ty or the producer, although we do recognize that this episode placed special challenges on the production crew. By the time it airs, it’ll literally be months after Hurricane Katrina, and most Americans have already taken the President’s advice to not let the terrorists win by dwelling on the fact that their government failed them. Instead, people are now focused on more important news, such as the fact that their daughters might go missing during spring break.”

The family, brought in from Minnesota because producers realized that people in the hurricane-ravaged areas only look good on TV from helicopters, declined to comment except to say that they were grateful to the show for helping them realize that what was really missing in their post-hurricane lives was a new set of Craftsman tools.

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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.