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Where’s HGTV’s Renovator? How do I get my own Real Housewives?

Where’s HGTV’s Renovator? How do I get my own Real Housewives?
The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls cast members at BravoCon 2022 (left to right) Candiace Dillard-Bassett, Leah McSweeney, Dorinda Medley, Heather Gay, and Eva Marcille (Photo by Eugene Gologursky/Bravo)

In this edition of Ask Andy, my creatively named feature in which I answer your questions about reality TV, we have two questions:

  • Why did Marcus Lemonis’ HGTV show The Renovator disappear?
  • How would I even start getting my own Real Housewives franchise?

Read on for my answers. And If you have a question about reality TV, send me an e-mail message!

What happened to Marcus Lemonis’s The Renovator?

Marcus Lemonis poses in front of one of the houses he renovated on his new HGTV show The Renovator
Marcus Lemonis poses in front of one of the houses he renovated on his new HGTV show The Renovator (Photo by HGTV)

HGTV’s The Renovator, Marcus Lemonis’s new show—his show The Profit is done, or at least, he’s done with The Profit—aired just two episodes before disappearing from HGTV’s Tuesday night.

What happened? (I’m asking myself this question because I was curious! And I’ve seen other people asking on social media.)

Its timeslot premiere, Oct. 11, ratings were 607,000 people and a 0.10, while the show that followed it, Good Bones: Risky Business, had twice as many viewers: 1.074 million and a 0.15, while House Hunters at 10 had 930,000 viewers.

Its second episode, on Oct. 18, ratings dropped to 570,000 viewers and a 0.06, while Good Bones at 9 had 978,000 viewers and a 0.12, while House Hunters at 10 had basically the same: 968,000 viewers and a 0.12.

Clearly, people are tuning in for shows they know, but not for a brand-new show. It’s also, as Marcus told me, not what HGTV viewers might be used to. “HGTV has been unbelievably kind to allow us to do things, but they have said to me on multiple occasions: This is very different for us,” he said.

Likely as a result of those low ratings, HGTV pulled it off the air, replacing it on Oct. 25. Both episodes are on Discovery+, however.

While the show was announced as an eight-episode series, Marcus has since been referring to the ones that aired as “the first two sneak peek episodes,” in a clever bit of rebranding.

A spokesperson for Marcus’s production company told me it’ll return in 2023. I would not be surprised to see it in a different timeslot, maybe even on a different night.

How do I get my own Real Housewives?

Ramona Singer and Tinsley Mortimer on the RHONY season 12
Ramona Singer and Tinsley Mortimer on the RHONY season 12. (Photo by Heidi Gutman/Bravo)

I would like to have my own Real Housewives show. I know it is a franchise. Can you tell me more about how to start? —Penelope

I’m not sure if you mean that you want to produce your own version, because you have a TV production company, or if you want to star in your own version.

Either way, it’s a steep, uphill climb.

While each version of the Housewives looks and feels similar, Bravo contracts with different independent production companies to produce the different franchises.

If you’re a production company, you’re probably already quite familiar with the intricacies of this process, which are too vast to discuss here, but if not, I highly recommend reality TV producer Troy Devolld’s book, Reality TV: An Insider’s Guide to TV’s Hottest Market, which includes a chapter titled “Creating Your Own Shows.”

As to being cast on a show: Housewives are cast just like any other show, though not with open calls and application processes like Big Brother and Survivor. Each franchises’s producer uses casting producers to find talent, and then interview them repeatedly, generally by video chat first.

Producers present a narrowed-down group of possible cast members to the network, which ultimately has the final say.

The individual cast members have to be great TV characters, of course, but they also have to fit in with the assembled cast, especially for those franchises that either pretend everyone is friends outside the show, or are following families (i.e. RHONJ).

Being an actual friend or acquaintance of a cast member can actually help, but if you had a friend who was on the show, you’d probably not be asking me about this!

By the way, while celebrities and influencers alike might think they’ll be perfect cast members, but one unnamed casting agent told The New York Post this:

“All the ‘Housewives’ are hard to cast. We are lucky if we interview six to 10 people a season. Nobody with integrity is going to go on a reality show like that where you are flaunting your lifestyle and flashing cash.”

I hope all this helps. But for far more insight into The Real Housewives from both a casting and producing concept, I’d highly recommend reading Brian Moylan’s book about The Real Housewives franchise.

You can start with this reality blurred excerpt from his book about how produced Real Housewives shows actually are, which gives a great overview of how much planning goes into each season. Good luck!

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About the author

  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means.

Discussion

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Happy discussing!

Logan

Tuesday 8th of November 2022

Hadn’t had a chance to watch “The Renovator” yet, but I was in NYC last week and there was a massive advertisement screen/billboard for the show in Times Square, so HGTV/Discovery definitely put some money behind promoting it. We all know however, that sadly, advertising doesn’t always equal ratings. Hopefully it’ll do better upon its return, Marcus is awesome.