×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

TLC Rebuilds Commercials for ‘Trading Spaces’

When the folks at TLC decided to bring the home-design series “Trading Spaces” back to the network’s programming lineup after a decade off the air, they knew they’d have to craft more than just the show’s episodes.

There’s a whole new advertising structure in place as well. And it will surface for the first time this Saturday, April 7, when the program makes its return at 9 p.m.

In years past, “Spaces” drew the attention of Home Depot, Lowe’s, GMC, Bosch Tools, Behr Paint and even Procter & Gamble’s Swiffer. For its 2018 return, executives at the Discovery Inc. cable network decided to weave two advertisers, Wayfair and Overstock, directly into the action of the program. Meanwhile, one of the original sponsors, Lowe’s, will sponsor a six-part streaming companion series, “Training Spaces,” that has some “Spaces” veterans squaring off against new designers. Lowe’s will be incorporated into a “tool wall” in the background of certain scenes.

“’Trading Spaces’” is kind of synonymous with TLC,” says Bill Carney, vice president of client and brand partnership for the network.” Fans will recall that the series featured two sets of neighbors who were joined by redesign experts and sent to redecorate a room in the other person’s home. The series brought new fame for people like Ty Pennington, who would go on to host “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” for ABC.

The idea of “if you build it, they will come” may work in the 1989 movie “Field of Dreams” but it doesn’t hold true in the world of advertising. Media outlets concoct all kinds of innovative ideas, but there’s no guarantee Madison Avenue will drive up to sample them.

tv icon Column tv icon
COMMERCIAL BREAK
A continuing series about branded entertainment
READ MORE

So maybe that’s why TLC decided to bring back “Trading Spaces,” which hasn’t been on its schedule since 2008. More TV networks are reviving old favorites, recognizing there’s a built-in audience for retooled favorites like Netflix’s “One Day at a Time” and “Fuller House” or Fox’s “The X-Files.” With more networks reviving old favorites like “Roseanne” and “Will & Grace,” and home-improvement remaining a popular subject, Carney adds, “it was just the right time to bring it back.”

Some things about the old shows, of course, have to change. The commercials and the way they are woven in and around the program must be more up to date than the series.

Consider the case of “American Idol,” recently rebooted on ABC. When the program aired on Fox, Coca-Cola placed red cups on the judges’ table. AT&T helped fans text their votes to determine winners each week. And Ford Motor Co. was able to lace itself into the proceedings. These days, ABC has enlisted Johnson & Johnson’s Zyrtec as well as Macy’s to both appear in and around the show but also sponsor “Idol” related video promotions designed for venues such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and ABC.com.

For the new season of “Spaces,” the series’ ninth, online retailers Wayfair and Overstock will each appear in half of the new eight-episode cycle. Each sponsor will back a “pop up shop” from which homeowners will be able to select one home décor item to include in the room they are redesigning for their neighbor. This marks the first time Wayfair has worked with TLC.

Wayfair felt the show would allow it to give potential customers ideas of how they might shop online at the site, says Courtney Lawrie, the company’s director of brand marketing.”There is a Wayfair tent, if you will, with lots of different productgs that folks on the show can shop around and incorporate into their space,” she explains. “We get to showcase selection and unique items.”

TLC is turning the revival into an event, , bringing back the cast for the first time since the original series’ demise in an 8 p.m. reunion special on Sunday. A second hour of reunion will appear the following week. The season premiere will feature the return of designers like Doug Wilson and Hildi Santo-Tomas, and carpenters Ty Pennington and Carter Oosterhouse. New carpenters and designers will show up as well, and Paige Davis returns as the series’ host.

TLC executives have for years been besieged with requests to bring back the show, says Howard Lee, the network’s president and general manager. But TLC had evolved, he says, moving beyond home repair to programs such as “Cake Boss” and “Sex Sent Me to the E.R.”

“We had to really think had about whether we wanted to reboot it, because there’s so much competition out there in the world of programming,” says Lee. “In the end, though, the fan fervor was just so high, we wanted to do it justice and just try it out.”

TLC has other reasons to relaunch a popular home-renovation program. Its parent company, Discovery, recently acquired Scripps Networks, owner of HGTV and DIY, two networks that boast a round-the-clock schedule of programming devoted to home improvement. And while executives had no comment about the potential for the TLC franchise to play on some of the company’s new properties, one can see how “Trading Spaces” could serve as part of a bigger advertising build if it were to continue.

More Biz

  • Louis Tomlinson Signs With Arista (EXCLUSIVE)

    Louis Tomlinson Signs With Arista (EXCLUSIVE)

    One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson has signed with Arista, sources tell Variety. While the singer was formerly linked with Epic Records in 2017, he is signed directly to Simon Cowell’s Syco label and will move within the Sony Music family to Arista. Tomlinson teased a new single on Feb. 2, posting on Twitter, “Just heard the [...]

  • Jussie Smollett

    Jussie Smollett's Bail Set at $100,000, Must Surrender Passport

    UPDATED: A Chicago judge set a $100,000 bond for Jussie Smollett on Thursday, as the “Empire” actor made his first court appearance. Smollett faces one felony count of filing a false police report. Police allege that Smollett staged a Jan. 29 attack, telling detectives that he was accosted by two men who used racial and [...]

  • Michael Jackson Estate Accuses HBO of

    Michael Jackson Estate Sues HBO for Non-Disparagement Contract Breach

    The estate of Michael Jackson sued HBO on Thursday, accusing the cable channel of violating a non-disparagement clause by agreeing to run “Leaving Neverland,” a documentary accusing Jackson of sexual abuse. The suit seeks to compel HBO to litigate the matter in a public arbitration process, and claims that the estate could be awarded $100 [...]

  • Allison Kaye

    Scooter Braun Names Allison Kaye Partner at Ithaca Holdings (EXCLUSIVE)

    On the back of a history-making debut by Ariana Grande, who claims the top three songs on the Billboard Hot 100 chart this week (tying the Beatles), Scooter Braun has appointed his longtime deputy Allison Kaye to partner at Ithaca Holdings LLC, which houses SB Projects. She was previously president of music at the 12-year-old [...]

  • Tidal Launches $1 Million Program to

    Tidal Launches Unplugged, $1 Million Program to Support Emerging Musicians

    Tidal, the streaming platform headed by Jay-Z, today announced the launch of a million-dollar artist grant program intended to support emerging musicians. Called Tidal Unplugged and funded by a donation from venture capitalists and philanthropists Mark Lampert and Robert Nelsen, the program will kick off March 1 in Detroit, where Lampert’s grandfather started his musical career. [...]

  • Patti Smith, Sharon Van Etten Lead

    Patti Smith, Sharon Van Etten, Lead Initial Lineup for Renovated Webster Hall

    New York’s classic venue Webster Hall, which will reopen this spring after a months-long renovation, has announced the first run of shows after its relaunch: Patti Smith and Her Band, Broken Social Scene, MGMT, Empire of the Sun, Old Dominion, Sharon Van Etten, Built to Spill, Real Estate, Chromeo and Big Thief are among the [...]

  • Jussie Smollett

    Jussie Smollett Charged With Filing False Police Report

    “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett has been charged with filing a false police report, the Chicago police said Wednesday. “Detectives will make contact with his legal team to negotiate a reasonable surrender for his arrest,” police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said on Twitter. Smollett is due to appear in court for a bond hearing at 1:30 p.m. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content