Design Star returns with new producers: Mark Burnett replaced by Food Network Star’s producers

HGTV’s Design Star returns tonight, and there’s good news for those of us who think last season was an unmitigated disaster: For the third time in three seasons, the show has a new production company, as it is now produced by the company that produces the outstanding Next Food Network Star. (It was originally produced by Jersey Shore creator SallyAnn Salsano’s 495 Productions, but she was fired from her “baby.”)

When Mark Burnett yelled at me earlier this year, one of the things he said was that he wasn’t doing another season of the show. “No, I’m not. No, I’m not. Um. I’m not doing that again,” he said. I honestly thought he was screwing with me. But apparently, he wasn’t kidding.

While HGTV’s press release announcing the cast said nothing of its production company, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that “the show has its third production company”: CBS Eye Too Productions.

To be honest, I wasn’t even that excited about the show’s return, even though the network announced a new host and separate mentor. I assumed that without new producers, it’d be more of the same: Angry Vern Yip and insufferable judges failing to make their decisions clear; unlikeable designers; and boring challenges that tried to create artificial drama with teams. But if the show moves closer to Food Network Star, that will be a huge step in the right direction.

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.