Trading Spaces always required homeowners to pay taxes on materials and labor

Trading Spaces changed a lot over its seven-year life–the host was eliminated, for example–but one thing that has not changed is that the homeowners who participate are required to pay taxes on both the new furnishings and the labor that went into them.

Yesterday, Best Week Ever asked if the show is “a scam” because one homeowner “had to pay taxes on over $6,000 worth of fees, including the time for the carpenters and designers.” Another homeowner who participated in the show wrote on a TLC message board that they had to pay taxes on $2,800 and “were told way in advance even before the final selection was made … we had to acknowledge that if we were chosen, we would have to file a 1099 in the amount of $2800.00.”

A TLC spokesperson tells reality blurred, “It is industry standard that recipients of goods and/or services are responsible for paying any applicable taxes on such goods and services. That is the case with Trading Spaces now and always has been.” As the homeowner who posted on the message board mentions, potential participants “are informed that they are responsible for paying these taxes during their pre-interviews with producers and their participation in the show is contingent upon that understanding.”

The spokesperson adds that the fees “don’t vary based on designer.” In other words, if Hildi just smeared horse crap on your walls and sprinkled broken glass on the floor, you’d still pay taxes on the same amount.

Is Trading Spaces a Scam? [Best Week Ever]

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.