Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I want my HGTV!

I really, really try to keep my media and TV related posts on my other blog, but in this case I feel this post belongs over here because of the content and shows I'm discussing.

I get the feeling HGTV feels like Bravo is encroaching on their territory.

With a bevy of shows like "Flipping Out", "Million Dollar Decorators", and "Million Dollar Listing", Bravo certainly is giving HGTV a run for their money when it comes to the volume of Real Estate and Interior Design programming. Money being the key word there.

Bravo's Real Estate and Interior Design programming is decidedly more high-end than HGTV's, which has shows like "Design on a Dime" and others with budgets in the very low thousands-- not the millions. Bravo's shows are also much more reality-based, with story lines outside of the decorating or home buying process, and regular "characters" as opposed to hosts and homeowners.

And now it appears that HGTV is trying to borrow a chunk of Bravo's audience.

First it was the Novogratz's, which HGTV pinched from Bravo's "9 by Design" to star on their own "Home by Novogratz." That's all well and good-- until the HBN episode I watched took a very ugly turn toward reality TV. Or at least attempted it, with a staged scene at a crowded dining table where a design meetin with Courtney and an assistant kept getting "interrupted" by the children.

Now, some of their other programming is trying very hard at "reality", and failing miserably. Tonight I watched the sneak preview of  "Debbie Does Dallas", "Donna Designs Dallas", "Donna Decorates Dallas". Even though she was a runner up on a previous season of "Design Star" that I hadn't watched, my love of television and my fancying of homes means I'll always give a new HGTV show a whirl before deciding whether or not I'll watch it.

And there were two things I noticed within the first five minutes of this show; with it's introduction of Donna's daughters (apparent "characters" on the show) and the playful-sound-effecty music score, this was going for a much more "reality show" vibe. And while I'm not all that familiar with Donna, I can tell she is all about the bling. Even just looking at the home shown in the opening credits, you can tell this show is not meant to portray the average American's home. This is high end.

Hhmmm... those two things sound like a certain other network.

A quick Google search just now lands me on a Scripps Networks press release, which confirms my suspicions of HGTV's angle with this show:
When Dallas homeowners feel the need to bling out their lavish houses, they count on former HGTV Design Star finalist Donna Moss to bring the glitz. During this new design series, HGTV will follow Donna and her daughters Tiffany and Ashley, as they bring dramatic designs to Dallas.
Reading further down in the same press release reveals that HGTV has hired none other than a former "Real Housewife" to do another design show, sniping yet another personality from Bravo. Dina Manzo, an interior designer and special events planner from "Real Housewives of New Jersey", "will bring her lavish and sumptuous events to HGTV in this new weekly party-planning series." Sounds interesting, but certainly not what I watch HGTV for. If Scripps Networks wanted to start a party-planning series, it sounds better suited for the Food Network (a la Sandra Lee), but even that's a stretch.

Bottom line: Bravo does the high-end "reality" based home programming better. But that's why I watch HGTV (it's no secret working there as a producer or blogger would be a dream job for me), so I hope they stop this attempt at Bravo-lite soon. HGTV is my go-to for accessible design and within-reach real estate. And this switch to higher-end design is a bizarre choice while the country still deals with the fallout of the recession and foreclosure crisis.
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