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Diatribe: What’s Happened To HGTV?

09/23/2013

HGTVWhen I first discovered Home & Garden Television, know now only as HGTV, it was a basic cable and satellite television channel broadcasting a variety of low-budget how-to shows with a focus on home improvement, gardening, crafts and redecorating.

It used to be that you could tune in to shows like Design On A Dime and Decorating Cents to learn how to redecorate a room with little to no cash out-of-pocket using things from the garage and sticks and twigs from the woods.  In thirty minutes we could learn how to turn a flea market find into a beautiful piece of furniture with nothing more than a can of spray paint and a potato cut to use as a stencil.

The programs in the early days of HGTV were relatable to everyone, young and old, apartment dwellers and homeowners alike.  Those who lived in modest homes and apartments could find something useful or interesting in a majority of the station’s programming.  From developing simple landscape plans to growing vegetables in pots on patios, HGTV presented potentially useful ideas for everyone.

Sadly, it appears that the stations target demographic has changed.  At our house we rarely, if ever, watch the station any more since programs like House Hunters have become House Hunters International or House Hunters Vacation Homes.  The programs have changed from simple redecorating tutorials to beefcake remodeling documentaries where the contractors and designers have sometimes become characters in a season-long storyline involving their families, their sidekicks and  their own product lines.

Brother vs. Brother, Love It Or List It, and it’s spin-off Love It Or List It Too are all cut from the same mold and follow the same basic format … hate your home, budget money to change it, encounter unexpected problems, go over budget and love the results anyway.  Sometimes it feels like one long Lowe’s, Home Depot, paint or faucet commercial after another.

There are two design shows that we still enjoy, Sarah’s House and Candace Tells All, but we record them and watch them without commercials since most of the commercials are advertisements for other HGTV programs and they broadcast the same ones over and over.

Are you a long-time fan of HGTV?  If so, are you also disappointed with the direction that its programming has taken?

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17 Comments
  1. Brother vs. Brother, Love It Or List It, and it’s spin-off Love It Or List It Too?
    Hate ’em, won’t watch ’em. i used to like Kitchen Cousins until it turned into Sad Story Gets A remake Show.
    Love Candace, and Sarah, and Scott Hot McGillivray on Income Property.

    Like

    • Scott Hot McGillivray on Income Property deserves his own Ovation. His show is also a series that we record. He provides useful information that many people can use to their benefit … particularly in college towns or other places where apartment dwellers are abundant.

      Even though it wasn’t an HGTV program, I think my all-time favorite would still have to be Trading Spaces!

      Like

    • Marie permalink

      While I like a couple of the shows on HGTV in 2014 it is NOT the programming that got me hooked back in 2008. I used to watch to get ideas, and we did, for our home which we had just bought.
      The programming is now the same very day. Boring hosts. I can’t imagine myself wanting them in my home for anything. Even if free.
      David, Vern,Sabrina, Candace, Scott, john, Ahmed, etc., etc.
      We’ve stopped watching anything but property brothers and love it or list it but it’s just repeats.

      Like

  2. I used to be a fan. Still love Candace and Scott but kinda grew tired of the shows. I really loved Designed to Sell with Lisa (and carpenter Greg Plit!!!!). You might like DYI TV if you get it. It’s a bit more how too.

    Like

  3. We like Salvage Dogs on DIY.
    My favorite show was Designed to Sell with Clive Somebody or Other. Got to be formulaic but it was about houses like ours – normal. Ever since I read how House Hunters was filmed (all staged – couple had already bought their new house) and the sneering at other people’s houses. sigh….

    Like

    • I know! That House Hunters business really ruined it for me. Some of the things that they started to do were just so unrealistic. If you remove a closet to make a bathroom bigger, where do they keep their clothes?!

      Like

  4. You are right it is all about merchandising. By the way, I would not trust any repairs done while I was away at dinner for three hours. Can you say sloppy work? The other theme that has entered in is everything has to be competitive with trash talk. When I played sports, if you trash talked, you sat. But, I am just an old fart.

    Like

    • These shows have become more about the people doing the work than about the work itself. They say things like “get it reupholstered” or “have it spray painted” like there are people around every corner waiting to do it for free. People in Toronto must be rich, rich, RICH!

      Like

  5. I love HGTV! I also like some of the new programming because it’s nice to see how other people live.

    Like

  6. Sadly the same thing has happened to their sister station the Food Network. Gone are the cooking shows its all lame reality shows and reruns of the actual cooking shows. It should be called “warmed over leftovers”

    Like

  7. Anonymous permalink

    You are absolutely right, two years later and HGTV seems to be going down hill. The quality of the shows and designers don’t hold a candle to its earlier days. Im soo disappointed to hear that Jonathan doesn’t really do the renovations on Property Brothers and Drew doesn’t to the selling part. I love watching them but I don’t appreciate the fact that its so staged.

    Like

  8. Kim west permalink

    pLEASE help bring back the decorator shows to HGTV !!! I learned so much and watched all day long !! The building recession is over ! Get back to room redos and decorating on a dime!! Keep one or two of real estate shows. But I no longer watch any more nor do my family or friends!!!!

    Like

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Diatribe: Think Before You Speak Because EVERYONE Is Listening … Even “Chubby Wubby”. |
  2. Ovation: Christ Hyndman (March 3, 1966 – August 3, 2015) |

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