Extreme Makeover: Home Edition returns; “[desperate] and deserving” families are chosen

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition returns tonight on ABC for its fifth season. The show will reach its 100th episode with a Minnesota-set episode in November, but starts tonight with an episode shot in Hawaii, its “biggest build ever,” according to its producer.

The show, like Trading Spaces on PCP, demolishes and rebuilds homes for people who have faced some kind of hardship. But the debut episode generated controversy when it was filmed because the preschool owner featured makes $100,000+ a year. And a state land grand paid for the land on which it’s built.

How does the show choose its families? The show’s executive producer, Denise Cramsey (who, incidentally, was once the executive producer of Trading Spaces), says decisions are made based upon two criteria. “I break it down to desperation and deserving. We are looking for families who need a new home and are unable to get that home for themselves, either because of financial [reasons], disease or tragedy,” she told the Orlando Sentinel. “There has to be some level of give-back to the community. If [I’m] going to go to the community, I have to be able to say, ‘The family has done so much for you.'”

She added, “More often than not, we find our families through nominations from communities, schools, churches, social workers, government agencies. It can never hurt to call attention to another’s problem and try to get them help. … It has always been hard to find just one family to help. There are so many people in this country who need housing and help. It’s hard to winnow it down.”

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition [ABC]
So how does ABC’s ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’ pick the families it helps? [Orlando Sentinel]