Design Star, What Happened To You?

Photo Credit: HGTV

Remember Design Star? HGTV launched the reality competition in 2006 with 10 designers vying to win their own show on the network. Four things happen when a show like this is produced:

  1. HGTV fills a programming slot
  2. It is auditioning everyone who appears on the show and can assess them for future productions regardless of the outcome of the show
  3. It gets at least one additional show from the endeavor in the form of the winning designer’s show which has a built in audience
  4. It engages the audience in an ongoing series rather than the usual one-off episodes it airs and hopefully gets people talking about the show, their favorite contestants, the villains, and the good and bad designs.

It seems like a great formula especially as its first winner, David Bromstad, became a big star on the network and has been appearing there on and off ever since.

The show aired for a total of nine seasons, eight with fresh casts and one all-star. None of the other winners became as popular as David Bromstad and some barely appeared on HGTV afterwards.

It seems like a winning formula so why wasn’t it more popular and sustainable? Let’s see.

How many of these winners do you remember?

  • David Bromstad
  • Kim Myles
  • Jennifer Bertrand
  • Antonio Ballatore
  • Emily Henderson
  • Meg Caswell
  • Danielle Colding
  • Leslie Ezelle
  • Tiffany Brooks

Can you name their shows? The first seven winners made shows based on their points of view and some have also appeared on other HGTV shows. Leslie Ezelle, the all-stars winner, did not get a show and Tiffany Brooks, rather than creating her own show, was relegated to one that HGTV likely already had in the works.

Here’s why I think the show didn’t survive (although I would watch it again if HGTV decided to bring it back).

  1. Each season I would get predictably caught up in the drama of it, rooting for who I thought should win, hoping the meanies would be eliminated after a big humiliating design flop. At the conclusion I was often disappointed when the result seemed like a foregone conclusion based on any number of factors besides talent or interesting concept.
  2. The challenges weren’t interesting and were too team-focused. Yes, in real life, you’ll work in a team but not with your competitors and one person will clearly be the leader unlike on this show where each team was made up of alphas. [Side note: one of the popular challenges, the white room challenge, was spun off into its own show with David Bromstad as the host. It was on for one season and wasn’t as compelling since we didn’t already know the designers and they weren’t competing for the bigger picture].
  3. Then HGTV never really made a commitment to the winners so while I might be looking forward to what someone was going to bring to the network, they only appeared briefly and then were gone.
  4. It’s part of a bigger trend for HGTV as it has moved away from design to focus more on real estate and renovation.

Here’s why Vern Yip, who appeared on every season as a judge, says the show was cancelled: “The ratings of the show were still pretty strong by last year, but the numbers were undeniably shrunken from its peak years.”

Bottom line, right? It’s all about ratings. Could the show have sustained better ratings if they had tweaked the formula? Done more to make bigger stars of the winners?

If you’re interested in reading up on where the stars are now, click here for information from Hooked on Houses.

Would you watch Design Star again? Who was your favorite Design Star winner?


What’s New Next Week

Photo Credit: HGTV

Two returning shows returning on the morning schedule…

Thursday 6:30 am
Cousins Undercover
HGTV’s cousins, Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri, give one hero the surprise of a lifetime. The cousins descend on the neighborhood with huge trucks and hulking teams of renovators to tackle a home overhaul customized exactly to the hero.

Thursday 7:30 am
Curb Appeal (Welcome back, John Gidding!)
Get great ideas for how to make the most of your home’s appearance! Curb Appeal will help you look at your home with a fresh eye and offers up tips for turning great ideas into reality.

…and new episodes of our favorites in primetime.

10:00 – House Hunters Renovation

8:30 – House Hunters
9:00 – Ellen’s Design Challenge
10:00 – House Hunters
10:30 – House Hunters International

9:00 – Fixer Upper
10:30 – House Hunters International

9:00 – Property Brothers
10:00 – House Hunters

9:00 – Flip or Flop
10:30 – House Hunters International
11:00 – Five Day Flip

Weekly News and Links


In ratings news, ‘Flip or Flop’ delivered the highest-rated prime episode ever and HGTV became Scripps’ first $1B revenue network.

Meanwhile in a different kind of ratings, the Property Brothers’ single, Hold On, made its Billboard debut on Hot Country Songs at No. 38.

In show news, HGTV green-lights a full season of Home Town which follows Ben and Erin Napier in Laurel, Mississippi.

Tarek and Christina are #Goals

Buzzfeed offers funny tweets about HGTV shows and reminds us that Chris Harrison of The Bachelor was on Designers’ Challenge (but we knew that).

Is Rehab Addict being canceled? (Please, I hope not!) Nicole Curtis posted a cryptic message on her Facebook page.

Get your Fixer Upper news about the season 3 finale, Magnolia House reservations and the Magnolia story then read an interview with a Fixer Upper client to see what it was like to be on the show.

7 Ways HGTV and DIY Network are Different

HGTVLogo1Feb16copy   vs.  DIYLogoFeb16copy

Or, why are there two seemingly identical networks that aren’t both offered through my cable provider so I’m unable to watch first-run Rehab Addict episodes?!

Clearly I don’t get DIY so I can’t compare the two networks from direct experience but a number of shows from DIY are aired on HGTV… eventually. I’m disappointed that one of my favorites, Rehab Addict, is showing a new season on DIY that I’ve heard all about thanks to ads on HGTV but I have to wait and hope it will show up on HGTV in due time.

  1. Both are owned by Scripps Networks Interactive but aren’t distributed together. There is a similar situation with Food Network and Cooking Channel. One some of us get and one we don’t.
  2. DIY was launched by Scripps following the success of HGTV. Initial programming consisted of clips of old HGTV shows while new content was in development. Now, it looks like the networks trade shows back and forth despite differences in vision.
  3. They’re aimed at different audiences. According to the Scripps website, “HGTV is America’s leader in home and lifestyle programming. HGTV is distributed to more than 99 million U.S. households” and “DIY Network is the go-to destination for rip-up, knock-out home improvement television. DIY Network’s programs and experts answer the most sought-after questions and offer creative projects for do-it-yourself enthusiasts.” (The Scripps site for DIY doesn’t give number of households receiving it. From what I could find, DIY’s numbers are lower by about one third.)
  4. Their slogans according to Wikipedia tell a similar story: HGTV – Home Starts Here. DIY Network – The Dirtiest Network
  5. DIY says it targets a more male audience than HGTV (which is more female), although both channels have offerings which appeal to both.
  6. HGTV has a companion print magazine and DIY doesn’t.
  7. DIY has first run episodes of Rehab Addict. Could it be that Nicole Curtis is on DIY because her show is more of the “rip-up, knock-out home improvement” type or because she appeals to the male audience? Or both? I don’t know. I just want to see her redo her childhood home!

For more information, click here, here, here, and here.

What’s New Next Week


The themes this week are actual new shows and lots of Chip Wade!

New shows this week – Set your DVR!
Tuesday 11:00 pm
Wise Buys
Contractor Chip Wade and his realtor wife, Pauli, are using their expert knowledge to help other couples learn the ins and outs of home buying and renovation.

Thursday 7:30 am
Stone House Revival
Jeff Devlin is the go-to guy when it comes to historic houses in and around Buck’s County PA, where the structures are literally older than the country itself.

Friday 7:30 am
Half-Price Paradise
Can you upgrade your life — and still save a big stash of cash? In each episode of Half-Price Paradise, a couple moves to a new town that’s both spectacular and surprisingly affordable.

Back on this week
Monday 6:30 am
Elbow Room
Chip Wade helps families who need a bit more space redesign their dream homes.

Wednesday 6:30 and 7:00 am
Kitchen Crashers
Kitchen Crashers is in stores across America looking for the perfect weekend warriors who could definitely use some help with their kitchen.

Weekly News and Links


HGTV has a category called “Fantasy Lifestyle” that includes shows such as Caribbean Life, Island Life, and Hawaii Life and it has ordered nearly 100 additional episodes. That’s a lot of fantasy!

In other HGTV news, the network has landed in the number one spot in cable for women for the last three weeks.

Lots of Fixer Upper news as usual:
How does the show work? Several couples share their experiences of being on the show.
Have you wondered what’s between Chip and Joanna’s legs when filming? I didn’t know this was a thing.
So many people tried booking Magnolia House that the website crashed. BTW, its $695 per night for the whole house.

More backstage info, this time from David Bromstad about ‘My Lottery Dream Home’

Lest we forget about the Property Brothers
Tour their Las Vegas home and find out how they spend their time in Vegas then read their answers to five questions about home improvement.

18 things you may not know about Flip or Flop’s Christina and Tarek.

How Often are the Same Shows On?


As I’ve been putting together each Friday’s post, What’s New Next Week, I’m noticing that not that much is new and in fact there’s not a lot of variety in the weekly schedule either. You’ve probably noticed this too – the same shows seem to be on all the time. The couple of time slots in which the network experiments are early in the morning and sometimes on the weekends.

If you’re a regular viewer you know the top shows right now are Property Brothers, Fixer Upper, Flip or Flop, Love it or List it and the various House Hunters.

So, how often are the same shows on? I looked at Sunday through Saturday this week and here are some answers.

The winner for most showings is…a tie. House Hunters and Flip or Flop will each be on 34 times this week! That’s 32% of total shows this week.

Property Brothers (24 times) and Love it or List (23 times) are next. These two represent 22% of total shows this week.

Just these four shows represent over half of the programming on HGTV this week!

I also looked at the categories the shows fall into – Renovation, House Hunting, Flipping, or Design.

House hunting shows such as House Hunters, Caribbean Life, etc. account for 40% of all programming.
Renovation shows such as Property Brothers and Love it or List it account for 37%.
Flipping shows such as Flip or Flop and 5 Day Flip account for 17% and of course most of that is Flip or Flop.
Design shows (and I was widely inclusive here) such as Ellen’s Design Challenge and Flea Market Flip account for 6% and of course Ellen’s Design Challenge is a limited run show.

What does all this mean for you? For each of us the answer will be different. If you’re a Flip or Flop fan maybe you’ll be thrilled with this week’s programming. I like the show but won’t watch any of the episodes beside the new one. I’m also a big fan of House Hunters and will watch each new episode of it this week. What I miss are the design and craft shows and I’d love to see that percentage go way up. How about you? What would you like to see more or less of?