Discovery Inc. wants to rebuild “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” one of TV’s most durable reality concepts.
The company’s HGTV cable network plans to produce 10 new episodes of the former ABC series, featuring some of its many home experts as part of the process. The new episodes are expected to debut in late 2019, and HGTV has also secured the U.S. and Caribbean rights to air 100 episodes of the original series that ran on ABC for nine seasons between 2003 and 2012.
“We like to come up with our own formats and our own ideas, but every now and then, there’s something out there that just makes so much sense form a brand perspective that we have to do it,” says Kathleen Finch, chief lifestyle brands officer for Discovery, which last year acquired HGTV when it bought Scripps Networks. “‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’ is such an iconic show. It’s an emotional story centered around a house. There is real drama, and real stakes around a home being rebuilt.” At its peak, during the 2004-2005 TV season, the series garnered an average of around 16 million total viewers on Sunday nights.
Ty Pennington, the carpenter and model, gained a wider profile by hosting the original “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” Finch says executives have yet to decide upon a host for the new episodes.
HGTV will putter away on the new series as its parent company spends more time locking in talent and formats. In recent months, the company commenced talks with home-improvement gurus Chip and Joanne Gaines about building media properties around them, and struck new deals with people like Ina Garten and Valerie Bertinelli for Food Network. In other cases, the company is devising ways to spread popular series to multiple networks, such as a plan to craft episodes of “While You Were Out” specifically for TLC and HGTV, or creating a home-improvement version of “Say Yes to the Dress,” known for its appearances on TLC, for HGTV.
Discovery’s Finch in the past has generated much publicity by taking a famous person and bringing him or her to home-improvement programming. In 2014, she devised a plan for a home-renovation series featuring actor William Shatner, and the following year, she unveiled a plan to create a home-renovation series for Mr. T.
The HGTV episodes of the series will be produced by Endemol Shine North, America with Sharon Levy and DJ Nurre serving as executive producers. The company also produced the original version of the program for ABC.
The premise is an easy one to like, and ABC and the Endemol production studio were able to make the most of “Extreme Makeover.” The show centered on a top-to-bottom renovation of a home owned by a family facing hardship. ABC struck a deal with Sears to put Craftsman tools and Kenmore appliances, among other products, into the show.
Executives at Discovery identified “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” as something that would fit well into HGTV’s regular schedule of home-improvement and real-estate programs such as “Property Brothers” and “Love It or List It,” says Finch.
The series “always has been on our list of things to do. We just said, ‘Why not?’ We approached ABC. We approached Endemol. We had a lot of really great conversations and we were able to strike a deal,” she says. “When viewers hear it’s on, they are going to say, ‘Well, of course.’ It makes perfect sense.” She added: “It was really a pipe dream for a while and we are really looking to make it all come true.” The series will b made available on demand to HGTV subscribers across various platforms, including the outlet’s mobile app.