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Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (EM:HE), is a reality television series providing home renovations for deserving families, hosted by Ty Pennington.

Each episode features a family that has faced some sort of recent or ongoing hardship – such as a natural disaster or a family member with a life-threatening illness. The show's producers coordinate with a local construction contractor, which then coordinates with various companies in the building trades for a makeover of the family's home. That includes interior, exterior and landscaping, which is performed in seven days while the family is on vacation (paid for by the show's producers), which is documented in the episode. If the house is beyond repair, they replace it entirely. The show's producers and crew film set and perform the makeover but do not pay for it. The materials and labor are donated. Many skilled and unskilled volunteers assist in the rapid construction of the house.

EM:HE is considered a spinoff of Extreme Makeover, an earlier series providing personal makeovers (often including plastic surgery) to selected individuals, which the Home Edition has now outlasted. This show displays extreme changes to help recreate someone's space. However, the format differs considerably; in the original Extreme Makeover, for instance, participants were not necessarily chosen based on any recent hardship, whereas the family's backstory is an important component of Home Edition. EM:HE also has similarities to other home renovation series such as Trading Spaces, on which Pennington was previously a key personality.

The series is produced by Endemol USA (the people behind Big Brothermarker, Fear Factor, Deal or No Deal, and other reality shows) in association with Disney-ABC Television Group's Greengrass Television.

Overview

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition premiered as a special on Monday November 3, 2003, and had its official series premiere on Sunday February 15, 2004. It is currently one of ABC's top-rated series and has become far more popular than the original Extreme Makeover, which struggled in the ratings through its last two seasons and quietly ended with its episodes burned off wholesale in July 2007. The show ranked 41st in its first season, averaging 10.6 million viewers per episode, with the pilot episode bringing in 12 million viewers. however its ratings soared thereafter with the second season entering the top 20, finishing 15th for the year, averaging 15.8 million viewers per episode. The next four seasons each ranked at least in the top 30, with seasons two and three ranking in the top 20, and seasons four and five ranking in the top 25. The sixth season, however, fell out of the top 35, and ranked only 38th, hitting an all-time low of only 10.3 million viewers per episode. Series reruns began airing on TV Land on Tuesday August 7, 2007, making it the youngest non-original show to air on the network. Reruns also air on CMT

The show is hosted by Ty Pennington, formerly a carpenter on the show Trading Spaces. The series is devoted to rebuilding families' homes when the family is in need of new hope.

During the 2005–2006 season, the show went to areas hit by Hurricane Katrina and helped communities to rebuild themselves with help from other organizations.

The show also had a series of specials that later became a regular series during the 2004–2005 television season entitled Extreme Makeover Home Edition: How’d They Do That? It was a short-lived spin-off of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition that featured extra behind-the-scenes footage of what had happened in that week's episode.

The show has been renewed by ABC for the 2009-2010 television season, and there are plans to begin broadcasting the show in HD at some point.

Format

The majority of episodes are one hour; however, in some instances (mainly if complications are involved, or if the makeover involves more than just the family home) the episode will be a two-parter and will start at 7 PM Eastern Time (one hour ahead of its normal 8 PM Eastern Time slot). In the UK, some of the two-hour episodes air as one single program instead of as two separate parts.

Most shows in the first three seasons begin with a shot of Ty in the team's bus saying, "I'm Ty Pennington, and the renovation starts right now!" The exception is those episodes which feature a guest host in his place.

In the fourth and fifth seasons, the opening shot is of Ty in a location iconic of the state the episode was in, and a declaration of what state the episode is in is added to the tagline. Then, the chosen family is briefly profiled; their nomination video is shown to the team (and to the television audience).

Ty then brings the team together in a huddle and leads them in a chant of "Let's do it!" Next, Ty and the design team visit the family's home and proceed to give the family a "wake-up call" (courtesy of Ty's infamous bullhorn) by shouting "Good Morning [family's name] family!" then introducing each family member. The team will then go throughout the house, finding out about the family's interests as design inspiration.

The family will then be sent off on a one-week vacation (where applicable, airfare is provided by Southwest Airlinesmarker, whose involvement is noted at the end of the show) while the house is renovated or demolished, depending on its condition and the family's needs. (One episode in season three did not include a vacation because the family's daughter was in isolation at a local hospital). As the family is taking vacation, they would receive video messages via computer laptop from Pennington's camera. (The videos displayed on the laptop are superimposed on broadcasts to avoid both screen glare and the requirement of paying advertising royalties on the software used in the videos).

Beginning with Season 3, the demolitions have become quite creative; the team has used falling trees, tanks, and even monster trucks to accomplish the task where needed. In 2007, they used dynamite to blow up one family's old house.

A local home builder (sometimes two builders) and community volunteers begin basic work (electrical, plumbing, roofing, and, if the house is demolished, framing a new one) while the design team begins designing the creative aspects of the house. Once the basic work is completed, the design team then will add the finishing touches. Ty selects a portion of the house to be his "secret room" (except in the case when the secret project takes place in the backyard), which no one is allowed to view prior to final reveal (with one exception in Season 4, which involved a commercial kitchen; the health inspector had to approve the kitchen and issue the permit before it could be used). Shows often feature design team members making a trip to a local Sears store as well as special guest appearances.

At the end of the week, the family returns to their home, to see cheering crowds and the view of their home blocked by a bus (for larger projects, two buses would block the home). When Ty and the family give the order, originally, "Bus driver, hit it!" and later the much more famous, "Bus driver, move that bus!!" (or "those buses!!"), (Note: In the first two episodes, Ty and the family walked around the bus to reveal the new house) the family sees the end result of the team's efforts. Ty's "secret room" is usually the last item featured on the show. Often, a child's bedroom (usually to a special-needs patient), the parent's master bedroom, or a business room receives Ty's special attention. Some episodes feature special gifts given to the family by outside parties.

Cast

Cast Role
Ty Pennington Host/Design Team Leader/Carpentry
Paul DiMeo Carpentry
Paige Hemmis Carpentry
Tracy Hutson Shopping/Style
Tanya McQueen Interior Design
Michael Moloney Interior Design/Glamour
Ed Sanders Carpentry
Preston Sharp Exteriors/Big Ideas (left show after season 4)
Eduardo Xol Landscaping
John Littlefield Carpentry
Constance Ramos Architect (left show during season 3)
Rib Hillis Carpentry
Didiayer Snyder Design
Dawson Connor Design (left show after season 1)
Alle Ghadban Design (left show after season 1)
Daniel Kucan Interior Design (left show during season 3)


Reaction and criticism

Since the show premiered in November 2003, one of the show's strongest supporters has been the Parents Television Council which gave the show its coveted "Seal of Approval", and has also named it the most family friendly series on network television on its website since the show's second season.

However, while the show has usually earned positive reviews and even earned two Emmy Awards, it has often been criticized for glorifying excessive suburban lifestyles, such as in a Mother Jones article that questioned giving a 6-bedroom, 7-bath, 7-television house to a family of 4 in Kingston, WAmarker. However, it was deemed appropriate since the family was using the house as a Bed & Breakfast Inn as well.

In an e-mail sent March 10, 2006, from an ABC employee to network affiliates, the program's casting agent details the exact kind of tragedies and rare illnesses being sought.

Five children filed a lawsuit against ABC after they were evicted by a family that had taken them in before the show came to renovate the family's house. The five kids "say that the producers took advantage of the family’s hard-luck story and promised them new cars and other prizes to persuade them to participate in the program," according to the LA Times. On July 17, 2007, Judge Paul Gutman ruled against the siblings, stating that the plaintiffs failed to prove their case.

Questions arose when Theresa "Momi" Akana was picked for the Extreme Makeover program for Hawaii. The Honolulu Advertiser investigated their tax records and found out that both she and her husband made over $100,000 each in salary. Denise Cramsey, the executive producer of the show, responded with "I think Momi certainly fits the bill." She defended the pick, stating that they look beyond financial situation, and look into other factors, including family plight and contributions to the community.

In 2006, Extreme Makeover Home Edition tore down Brian and Michelle Hassal's once modest Harrison Countymarker home and built the new sizeable one in its place. Months later, the couple put their nearly brand new, donated home up for sale. The Hassals said the decision to sell their extreme home "wasn't an easy one", but they realized it was necessary due to rising medical bills.

U.S. television ratings

Seasonal rankings (based on average total viewers per episode) of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition on ABC.

Season Season premiere Season finale TV season Ranking Viewers
(in millions)
1
November 3, 2003 July 18, 2004 2003–2004 #41 10.63
2
September 26, 2004 May 22, 2005 2004–2005 #15 15.75
3
August 14, 2005 May 16, 2006 2005–2006 #19 14.71
4
September 17, 2006 May 20, 2007 2006–2007 #25 13.15
5
September 30, 2007 May 18, 2008 2007–2008 #22 12.89
6
September 28, 2008 May 17, 2009 2008–2009 #38 10.26
7
September 27, 2009 May, 2010 2009–2010


Notes



References

  1. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition: The Official Companion Book
  2. Family Featured In 'Extreme Home Makeover' Show Selling Home, Lex 18, May 7, 2009.


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