Poverty is not required for a family to be cast on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

Being poor and unable to afford a new home isn’t a requirement to be cast on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, according to its casting director. “That’s a huge misconception. We have to be conscious of what we’re doing. We can’t give someone a big house knowing full well they can’t afford to keep it,” Quintin Strack told Variety.

In fact, the show’s producers make sure that they’re giving brand-new, Sears appliance-stocked homes that the families can afford to keep. “To ensure that he could afford a big, new house for himself and his eight children, ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’ conducted a thorough check into his financial background, according to [participant Brian] Wofford,” Variety reports. He says that producers repeatedly told him that “a bigger home comes bigger upkeep.”

The show was recently criticized after reports came out that home recipient Theresa Akana made $100K+, but Strack defends selecting her as a recipient of a home makeover. “There’s a was a woman who pulled herself off of welfare, and she was putting a lot of her salary right back into the community center,” he says.

To ensure that they’re worhty, potential participants are subject to a background check that Strack says “is the same as if you were applying for a job at the FBI.” Besides checking out their stories, producers look for participants “where you know if you give them something great, they’re going to stay rooted in their community and pass their blessings on to other people,” Strack says.

Many factors in ‘Makeover’ casting [Variety]

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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.