HGTV’s House Hunters, the show that GQ called “the best dumb show on television,” is thriving. It’s the show everyone seems to be watching, perhaps getting caught in a marathon when channel surfing on a weekend.
Its popularity has soared even despite how awkwardly the couples act and how inauthentic it can feel, for which there’s good reason: In 2012, homeowners featured on the show revealed that House Hunters is very staged: the buyers have typically already bought or chosen one of the houses by the time the cameras film, and sometimes the other houses they’re pretending to consider aren’t even for sale. In 2012, when confronted with those revelations, HGTV basically only justified the show’s fakeness.
Yet even people who know that still love it. It’s real estate porn that is consumable in quick 30-minute chunks, and there’s the built-in game of guessing which house the couple will choose.
The Washington Post has just reported on the show in a must-read piece appropriately titled How “House Hunters” became the most unstoppable juggernaut on TV. It quotes executives and producers, and provides an interesting history of the show, and also includes some truly remarkable facts and data about the show that really surprised me. So much of this defies conventional television logic, such as how many viewers watch live.
Below are some of those facts, all of which come from the Post’s article, except where noted.
Amazing facts about HGTV’s House Hunters
- 447 brand-new episodes aired in 2015—that’s an average of 1.22 new episodes per day.
- It has averaged 406 episodes per year during the last four years.
- In the United States, at least 15 teams are filming episodes at all times. Always.
- Internationally, there are 25 teams filming episodes at all times.
- Products can be integrated immediately after closing a deal with a sponsor because there are crews shooting nonstop, and the product placement ranges from shots of the vehicle to products the couple mentions or interacts with.
- Each episode takes three days to film.
- Episodes of the show are currently scheduled into 2017.
- It has been on the air since 1999, before Survivor‘s success ushered in a wave of reality television.
- 25 million people watch the show every month.
- 90 percent of viewers watch live, on television—not online and not on their DVRs, AdWeek reported.
- Ratings for new episodes are 15 percent higher than repeats, according to AdWeek.
- Midway through last year, the show’s ratings were up 8 percent, AdWeek said. In television today, having stable ratings is viewed as a positive thing.
- There have been “about 20 specials and spin-offs,” such as Tiny House Hunters, Island Hunters, and Houseboat Hunters.
- The housing crisis was actually good to the show, as the number of episodes “tripled between the peak of the bubble, in 2005, and the Great Recession’s official end, in 2009,” according to the Post.
- In 1999, there were 26 episodes; 2005, 62 episode; and 2010, 195 episodes.