Marathon of HGTV’s Design Star airs tomorrow

This weekend, I finally watched HGTV’s Design Star, a competition featuring interior decorators. HGTV aired a marathon yesterday, in addition to repeating the last few episodes frequently, and I was instantly addicted.

Apparently, I’m one of the last to get on board, and I blame Deadwood and Big Brother for consuming all of my TV attention on Sundays. According to a message sent by HGTV’s PR firm, the show’s Aug. 20 episode was watched by almost three million people, “a 128 percent INCREASE from series launch, and a 44 percent rise from last week.”

Design Star is unexpectedly brilliant. It’s like Trading Spaces meets Project Runway, with some Wickedly Perfect thrown in for fun; it’s kind of hard to believe TLC never managed to get its post-Paige Davis act together to develop a show like this, but bravo to HGTV for doing so. Perfectly cast with just enough crazy-ass people (Ramona and Vanessa, I’m looking at you) to keep things interesting, the show has narrowed down the field to two exceptionally qualified and telegenic designers. One of them will win their own HGTV series.

Voting is open until noon tomorrow, and HGTV has video clips of both designers, plus highlights from episodes. And if you, like me, missed the series, HGTV will reair it starting tomorrow at noon ET. The finale, which includes a reunion of the designers, airs Sunday at 9.

Design Star [HGTV]

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.