A&E has officially cancelled Hoarders, the series that brought national attention to a previously hidden mental disorder. The show’s end has been clear since earlier this year, but A&E’s silence gave hope.
Alas, while A&E gave Intervention an official send-off, it did not do that with Hoarders. Instead, a publicist quietly confirmed its cancellation late last week, citing no reason. But the reason is clear: scripted frivolity with bearded men is far more lucrative for the network, and what matters to networks is cash and ratings. Still, it’s shitty that the network discarded the series without even contacting cast members to let them know.
With as many as 14 million hoarders, the need for assistance hasn’t gone away, and one of the show’s cast members is continuing its work off-camera.
Hoarders extreme cleaning specialist Matt Paxton, the show’s best cast member, has partnered with ServiceMaster to become “a consultant and valuable training resource for the ServiceMaster Restore franchise network” and “a media spokesperson for the brand and ServiceMaster consumer cleaning products,” the company said in a press release.
Matt told me this morning that “we’re kind of recreating what we did on Hoarders,” he said, “training literally franchise by franchise” so that they have the skills and understanding necessary to work with hoarders. Those 50 hours of training for each ServiceMaster Restore franchise will take about four years to complete. Previously, Matt’s company Clutter Cleaner received 10,000 leads a year from people who needed help, but they were only able to work with 50 in a good year. “I keep getting all these requests and I just couldn’t handle them,” he said, calling it “an awesome problem.”
A&E “were years of everyone else” with hoarding shows, but while the “show pulled the covers off a massive disorder,” Matt said, “A&E’s job is not to make a social statement; A&E’s job is to sell ads” and “it doesn’t matter how loved we were.”
After realizing that the show wasn’t coming back–A&E’s usual holiday gift didn’t arrive last year–Matt said he tried to find other opportunities on television, but no one was interested. “I got used to being a TV star, and now that’s gone.” Instead, he decided to focus on helping people, and the ServiceMaster partnership was born. Matt will continue his podcast and also produce Clutter Cleaner products.
Hoarding was recently added to the DSM-5, the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, becoming its own diagnosable disorder. Thus, Matt said, “awareness is getting bigger and louder” and “the need for help is growing.”
“The TV show forced people to look at the disorder,” Matt said. “For a show about trash, we had an amazing run.”