The network known for home makeover reality television is bringing back the reality show that set a high bar for home makeovers: HGTV is resurrecting ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
The show will be returning both in its original form (HGTV will air reruns of “100 existing episodes”) and 10 new episodes airing in “early 2020.”
No cast members are attached yet, though the network says it will use its typical strategy: “HGTV will showcase its own superstar experts in the weekly race to complete a custom, whole home renovation for one deserving family.”
Nine seasons of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition aired on ABC between 2003 and 2012, where it was hosted by Trading Spaces carpenter Ty Pennington and earned two Emmys.
The show was a brand extension for ABC’s Extreme Makeover, which transformed people’s bodies, but ended up being far more popular and lasting for five more seasons.
HGTV’s press release calls the show “[t]elevision’s highest-rated home renovation series of all time” and notes that during “its peak during the 2004/05 season, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition averaged nearly 16 million viewers on Sunday nights.” Clearly, the network is betting that there’s at least some lingering interest, but by the end of its run in 2012, the show only had about one-third as many viewers as it did during its peak.
However, radically transforming people’s homes in just days had severe consequences: “higher property tax, utility and maintenance bills,” as CBS News reported, which led some families to sell their homes and others went into foreclosure. The show did have a fascinating strategy to help families avoid taxes.
The show itself also struggled to become more and more extreme in both its physical makeovers (which were dripping with product placement, which is how the show could afford its makeovers) and its casting of people with emotional stories (it even started casting for people with specific maladies).
Its producers asked people to do “countless retakes” instead of capturing reality authentically.
Discovery’s chief lifestyle brands officer Kathleen Finch said in the press release, “This is a big win for HGTV and we can’t wait to put our stamp on it. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition was must-see viewing for years because it combined moving stories of families and communities with life-changing home renovations. It’s the type of program that taps into every emotion and it’s the reason it was so popular with everyone in America.”
Endemol returns to produce the new season, through its Endemol Shine North America, with Sharon Levy and DJ Nurre serving as executive producers for the studio.
Here’s how Endemol Shine describes the format, which it says has been produced in Albania, Argentina, Brazil, Israel, Italy, Norway, the Philippines, Romania, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United States:
“Each episode begins with the story of a family who has been hit with a stroke of bad luck. Lucky for them, however, everything’s about to change when they learn that they have been selected to have their home radically renovated. A team of designers, hundreds of workmen and even the neighbours join forces for the next seven days to makeover the family’s home while they’re sent away on vacation. Excitement and tension build as everybody pitches in to beat the clock and get everything in place for an exciting reveal that is sure to touch the hearts and lives of everyone involved.”
Endemol also distributes the existing episodes of the ABC series worldwide, and described the series this way:
“On this show the families are expecting a few changes when the show packs them off on a well deserved holiday but they aren’t expecting a complete make over! It would normally take four months to complete the project, but our team of talented designers has just seven days to change an entire house. They might even take it down and start again from scratch. It’s a tall order, especially when our creative masterminds spend a lot of time bickering. The big question is will our families love their new homes or will it be an Extreme Makeover too far, will they even recognise their home?”
I think the question for HGTV is if their rebooted version will focus on extreme but purposeful makeovers for deserving families—go go overboard in an attempt to do the most dramatic makeovers with the most emotional stories ever for families that can’t afford the changes being made to their homes.