Trading Spaces no longer wants neighbors, but dominatrixes, virgins, CEOs, and models

TLC’s Trading Spaces, one of the early reality TV success stories and the show that kicked off the makeover revolution, is getting desperate. The show has fallen hard, moving to a host-less format after its ratings dropped 40 percent.

Now, for the show’s eighth season, producers need participants and/or drama so badly that a casting notice says the show wants “diverse characters with interesting or bizarre stories or who have a unique connection to someone.” In case that’s not entirely clear, a tagline explains it all: “It’s not just with your neighbors anymore!” The casting notice says producers are actively seeking the following people to trade spaces:

A Beauty
A Pack Rat
A Dominatrix
A Hunter
An Organ Donor
A Physical fitness guru
A CEO
A Geek
A Rapper
A Minimalist
A Model
A 40-year-old-virgin
A Vegetarian
A Cheerleader
A Couch Potato
A Fashionista

Remember the old days when the drama came from the designers, like when Hildi glued bacteria to the walls of a nursery, and made a crib out of live grenades? Okay, she didn’t do that, but the show’s appeal tended to be about New York and LA designers (and Frank) brining design sensibility to middle America, where every house looks the same, regardless of what state or neighborhood the homeowners were in. It’s easy to see why the show is so desperate for a new hook, because that’s far less entertaining on television than Ty Pennington bulldozing a house and then making millions of people cry with new Sears appliances.

Trading Spaces Now Casting [Reality Wanted]

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.