HGTV Responds to the House Hunters “Scandal”

by hookedonhouses on June 15, 2012

Wow. All I can say is that I didn’t mean to cause such a ruckus. I’m a long-time HGTV viewer who just thought it was interesting to hear how the popular show House Hunters is made. I’d written other posts on the topic like The Truth About House Hunters and The Truth About Designed to Sell over the years, and at this point I didn’t imagine anyone would be really surprised to learn that some things are faked for TV.

When I shared the Jensen family’s story, I saw it as an eye-opening look behind the scenes. But a shocking expose? A scandal?

Apparently for some people it was. Those were the words used when the story spread all over the Internet this week, popping up on Yahoo!, A.V. Club, Time, Huffington Post, the Washington Post, you name it. I lost track.

I was interviewed for an article in USA Today. Readers reported hearing about it on the radio and seeing it on TV, too, including CNN, Fox & Friends, and The Today Show. Bobi was interviewed for a segment on Good Morning America and Inside Edition, among others. My head is spinning.

HGTV responded with a statement (first printed in EW’s “House Hunters Scandal!”):

We’ve learned that the pursuit of the perfect home involves big decisions that usually take place over a prolonged period of time — more time than we can capture in 30 minutes of television.

However, with a series like House Hunters, HGTV viewers enjoy the vicarious and entertaining experience of choosing a home — from establishing a budget, to touring properties and weighing the pros and cons of each one.

We’re making a television show, so we manage certain production and time constraints, while honoring the home buying process. To maximize production time, we seek out families who are pretty far along in the process.

Often everything moves much more quickly than we can anticipate, so we go back and revisit some of the homes that the family has already seen and we capture their authentic reactions.

Because the stakes in real estate are so high, these homeowners always find themselves RIGHT back in the moment, experiencing the same emotions and reactions to these properties.

Showcasing three homes makes it easier for our audience to “play along” and guess which one the family will select. It’s part of the joy of the House Hunters viewing experience. Through the lens of television, we can offer a uniquely satisfying and fun viewing experience that fulfills a universal need to occasionally step into someone else’s shoes.

So there you have it. They don’t deny it.

Keep in mind that they have never really tried to hide it. They have explained this process openly in the press before, and there are multiple similar accounts from other past participants that have been out there for years. I didn’t think I was breaking any kind of big story when I shared Bobi’s.

It’s just that now everyone seems to be listening.

I have been asked repeatedly this week whether knowing the truth will make me stop watching the show. Well, I have known about it for years and still watch when I come across it on TV. It’s fun to try to figure out which house is the “real” one when you know how it works behind the scenes.

Since Monday I have been deluged with two kinds of emails: those from readers who are furious with me “for ruining it for millions of people!” as one put it, and those from other people who have participated in HH and shows like it and have their own eyebrow-raising stories to tell. (Maybe I’ll share some of those with you someday, but let’s just say this type of thing goes far beyond House Hunters.)

Come to think of it, there was a third type of message I got a lot of, and that was from readers who emailed, tweeted, and left me links on my Facebook page whenever they saw my blog being name-checked somewhere. I love that so many of you were looking out for me. It’s been a rollercoaster of a week, and I’m glad you were along for the ride! -Julia

P.S. Bobi is telling more of her story and about her crazy week at her blog Western Warmth. I just have to say she’s been an amazingly good sport about this whole thing. She got way more than she bargained for when she agreed to talk to me. Thanks again, Bobi!

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Amanda @ Serenity Now June 15, 2012 at 8:01 am

Great post, Julia! I think you’re right…they haven’t ever tried to cover up how they create the show. Knowing about the “fake hunt” is less appealing to me, but I do like to look at houses, so I keep watching when I see it’s on. :)

Sue June 15, 2012 at 9:28 am

Yeah, but there’s always cut-and-splice. . . YMMV, but I don’t find fake very “entertaining,” since I can’t help but feel like I’ve been duped in some way. But then again, I stopped watching HGTV a long time ago, around the time when they dumped shows that featured creative thinking (Decorating Sense) in favor of bland appeal (despite the talented Lisa and the charming Clive, whom I really enjoyed watching, I tired of the neutral paints and plain panels really quickly). But that’s just me, and I’m sure HGTV doesn’t miss me at all +smiley face+

Julia June 15, 2012 at 8:02 am

I worked in the PR field for several years, so I’m not terribly surprised that the show is managed this way. It makes perfect sense; to truly select a new home in a matter of 30 minutes seems…a little hasty lol! I enjoy the show and I’ll keep watching. Thanks for sharing and good luck with all the media hoopla!

Sue June 15, 2012 at 9:26 am

Yeah, but there’s always cut-and-splice. . . YMMV, but I don’t find fake very “entertaining,” since I can’t help but feel like I’ve been duped in some way. But then again, I stopped watching HGTV a long time ago, around the time when they dumped shows that featured creative thinking (Decorating Sense) in favor of bland appeal (despite the talented Lisa and the charming Clive, whom I really enjoyed watching, I tired of the neutral paints and plain panels really quickly). But that’s just me, and I’m sure HGTV doesn’t miss me at all ;-)

Emily June 15, 2012 at 8:03 am

I can’t believe people were surprised to hear that a “reality” show wasn’t totally real. Shocker. And I seem to recall that on the Design Mom blog about a year or so ago she wrote about their experience on House Hunters International- they’d already rented a place when they filmed!

My sister-in-law is a t.v. producer and has done some House Hunters Int’l episodes so gave me the scoop a long time ago… Wasn’t surprising and I think it’s still fun to watch just to see what houses go for in other parts of the country/world…

KimberlyRose June 16, 2012 at 7:59 pm

I think it’s funny that people are upset about this. Come on, it’s not like it was some grand secret. It’s been public knowledge for ages.

Carol March 5, 2013 at 10:50 pm

Of course they are only kind of “real”. I don’t care, I love looking at the house’s all over the country & world. The show that drives me crazy & is so totaly staged is Love it or List It. They have to mix that show up a bit. Now they have a Love it or List it too??????? Other than the cast members nothing has changed. I won’t stop watching HGTV, I even watch reruns years old. Another fun show is Income Property, who doesn’t want to see Scott beautiful smile & dimples. I’m glad I found this post, it helps knowing how the shows work. :)

kathie June 15, 2012 at 8:03 am

Holy cow! That was you? My mom told me about it. Well, I have to say it’s kinda awesome that you caused such a ruckus, intended or not! Way to go!

Rachel June 15, 2012 at 8:07 am

WOW! lol. What a week for you. I remember you other post and while a bit disappointed in the show that hasn’t stopped us from enjoying watching the show and trying to guess which one is theirs. Keep up the investigative journalism. :)

Becky @ Farmgirl Paints June 15, 2012 at 8:13 am

Well holy cow girl I missed the whole thing. I remember your other posts telling how it worked. There isn’t one thing that anybody could say to make me not watch that show…except that they perhaps didn’t buy a house at all. Then it would feel like a giant waste of time. Geesh I hope the scandal doesn’t affect their ratings. You’re powerful:)

hookedonhouses June 15, 2012 at 8:37 am

I have a feeling it’ll have the opposite effect. Everyone’s talking about the show now and even people who never watched will be tuning in to see what all the fuss is about–and to see if they can spot the fakery! I know that even after I learned about it I kept watching, so I think they’ll be okay. :-)

MsJulie June 15, 2012 at 8:13 am

I’m shocked that there were people out there who did not know this show was staged. There is too much evidence to deny it – everything from badly delivered lines from the clients to the ‘urgency’ of the selection.
When is HGTV going to buy a clue that many of us do not appreciate the constant fake drama of the “will they decide/get finished in time.”

Mary Ann Beu June 15, 2012 at 8:14 am

It always amazes me that viewers are so easily duped. Reality show are scripted, competition show have their preset “ringers”and the news has become sensationalized “showbiz”. It’s all for entertainment??? purposes and sponsors big $$$$. Don’t believe what you see. It’s a circus, magic show done with smoke and mirrors. If you choose, sit back and enjoy the ride or better yet turn off your TV and go do something productive.

Sue June 15, 2012 at 9:30 am

…like paint the kitchen ++smile++

Sue June 15, 2012 at 9:30 am

…like paint the kitchen +grinning+

Renato Alves June 15, 2012 at 8:15 am

Julia
There will be always whiners…forget about them. I won’t stop watching HH because I enjoy looking at all types of houses and, at the end, when the family is in the house with their furniture. It wouldn’t be possible to make a show like that with all kinds of people that can’t make up their minds about what to buy. Even if they already bought the house, the show represents all that they might had been through. I enjoy the show.
And people has the right to know the truth and you did it, not only this time. I remember your older posts about it.
Keep going with the excellent work!

Vance June 15, 2012 at 8:21 am

“Often everything moves much more quickly than we can anticipate, so we go back and revisit some of the homes that the family has already seen and we capture their authentic reactions.

Because the stakes in real estate are so high, these homeowners always find themselves RIGHT back in the moment, experiencing the same emotions and reactions to these properties.”

This is such a load of self-serving baloney. It is fundamentally impossible to capture the home buyer’s “authentic” reactions and experiencing the “same emotions” if they are returning to a house that they’d already visited.

christina June 15, 2012 at 8:21 am

Even though I know it is all staged and faked, I’ll still watch because I’ll always love seeing the insides of other homes. Call me a open house stalker, it’s still entertaining!

Sue June 15, 2012 at 9:12 am

Exactly! HGTV knows there are people out there like us… we knew the truth years ago, but still find entertainment in just looking at houses. I’m always amazed at how much house you get for your money in different parts of the country, and now the world on HH International.

I still cringe, though, at all of the inane comments made by the buyers. Just cringe! And why is it that SO many of the houses appear to be less than 10 years old? There are other (slightly) more realistic property buying shows on HGTV, but they still run up against the time/production challenges of HH.

My only real beef with HGTV/HH, is that it’s ALWAYS on! In the next 12 hours, HH or HHI is on for 6 hours!! A little variety in programming would be appreciated.

65andcounting June 16, 2012 at 1:44 pm

ditto to what christina said.

Tracy June 15, 2012 at 8:24 am

Julia,
Don’t let the recent hype get to you. We have always watched house hunters and house hunters international with our kids. We knew very well that those decisions and viewings aren’t made in a week. Anyone who has bought a house or moved, knows you can’t make the decision or weigh all the pros and cons after seeing 3 places ( many out of the buyers price range!) in a week. The shows have a script that works and they stick to it, every episode! We keep watching! You haven’t “exposed” anything we didn’t already know. Shame on them for putting all the blame of bubble-bursting on you! We still love your site and we’ll still watch house hunters!

Maggy June 15, 2012 at 8:25 am

Julia, you did what any good journalist does, and that’s reporting the facts as you know them. And, I wouldn’t call it a ruckus, exactly … more like a ‘wake up’ call! Apparently, a lot of “reality” shows are rigged .. people, places and situations are honed to bring in viewers; it’s all about ratings. What *you* do is deliver the goods, whether it’s about a house or from someone who reads your blog, and that speaks volumes to me about your intent and your integrity!

… You GO, Julia!! I’m a fan of ‘Hooked on Houses’ and YOU! Great post, as usual, and even better .. TRUE reporting!

Susan Mills June 15, 2012 at 8:35 am

I’m not really concerned whether the houses are revisisted or not. I watch to see the unique locations, the opportunity to see unusual houses, and to house shop along with the folks. I love houses and I can pretend to be buying a new one each time I watch the show. It’s much easier knowing that they are the ones packing and unpaking (that’s the part I don’t like). I hope House Hunters continues on HGTV as I like it much more than the mindless tv that is on network channels.

Jo Stan June 15, 2012 at 8:45 am

Been following you for a while, so it was no surprise to me. What is a surprise is that people are upset with you. That cracks me up. Glad you are very resilient.

elz June 15, 2012 at 8:46 am

I kept wondering how you were doing when the post spread and spread and spread. It was unbelieavable! I didn’t think it was a scandal, but I found the account really interesting. I read enough other accounts to know that a lot of shenanigans happen for the sake of television!

Kathy Strader June 15, 2012 at 8:47 am

Wow! Hard to believe this is considered a “scandal”. There is very little about reality TV that is real. Congratulations to you for getting some much deserved attention for your great blog. Controversy drives traffic!

Maggy June 15, 2012 at 5:02 pm

<>

Ditto on that!

Melinda June 15, 2012 at 8:56 am

I see this as a great way for more people to discover Julia/ Hooked on Houses!

Now you need to figure out a way to parlay this into your own HGTV show…..

Sue June 15, 2012 at 9:33 am

+LIKE+

Buzz Jenkins June 15, 2012 at 8:56 am

Who cares? I’m interested to know how it works for sure, but the entertainment value is not in the choice but in the homes themselves and the interplay between the couples and the realtor! You know, how to they talk to each other? Are they mean? Are they greedy? Or are they nice and genuine? As a guy, I would probably choose to watch sports or something, but my wife plays HH all the time so I try to have as much fun people-watching as I can! We don’t care if it’s staged…

Linda June 15, 2012 at 8:58 am

Scandal? Seriously? People who are blaming you for “ruining it” must be the most gullible people in the world! It’s quite obvious that this show is a set up, what with the awkward sounding conversations and everything. It’s still fun to watch and look at the different houses, but it makes me laugh that people think reality TV is “real.”

Julia, I love your blog and read every post. Thank you!

Sarah @ housecrazy June 15, 2012 at 9:00 am

Julia, I feel for you and Bobi! The media machine got a hold of this one and really ran with it. But it will all die down in a few days and look at how many new readers you picked up from this!

Andrea June 15, 2012 at 9:02 am

Duh…..and I guess that some folks think all the reality shows are “real” too? Julia….thanks for posting. I found it interesting to hear Bobbi’s story…and yes, I still watch because I love to peek inside houses and I still love all things decor…….

Sarah @ housecrazy June 15, 2012 at 9:09 am

btw, I wrote about my take on the big scandal over at House Crazy -http://www.house-crazy.com/my-take-on-the-hgtv-house-hunters-show-scandal/
The hate-mail is unfortunate (and silly), but this too will pass!

Carrie June 15, 2012 at 9:14 am

Since I always like to hear the “behind the scenes” stuff, I thought the post was interesting. I never thought that choosing a house was a 1/2 hour experience. It has always amazed me when military families that I know can buy a house in a week or so, when I’d need much longer than that to mull and wrestle with the decision, so it was no surprise that the show is scripted and “faked”. That’s ok. I’m with your other reader – I just like seeing the insides of the houses and trying to pick which house they end up with.

Aryn June 15, 2012 at 9:16 am

If people are upset with you for ruining the show for them, they need to take another look at their priorities! It’s a reality show, for goodness’ sake!!

anna see June 15, 2012 at 9:18 am

thanks for the behind the scenes look. i’m sorry it has taken on a life of its own!

Maddie June 15, 2012 at 9:23 am

I read the article about the revelation in your Blog in the Daily Mail last night and was highly amused that it was referred to as a “scandal.” After reading your other posts on HGTV and being acquainted with people who have been on Designed to Sell, Weekend Warriors, and other HGTV shows; I wasn’t surprised. When you think about it, the show would be awful if they didn’t actually buy a house and I love the ending where they show how they have changed the house. People are crazy if they believe reality shows are reality.

Angela June 15, 2012 at 9:25 am

People really need to get a grip! Anyone who thought the show depicted all the realities of a house hunt were delusional or, dare I say it, dumb! I wonder if these people, who accused you of “ruining” their viewing, ever watch sitcoms & dramas…& I wonder if they realize the people are actors!! ;)

Caroline June 15, 2012 at 9:26 am

Wow! I just saw this on msn.com, crazy!!! Great job on posting this story, I enjoyed it the other day and am enjoying it even more now!!! Love your site, it is my daily obsession!!!! Keep up the great work!

raych June 15, 2012 at 9:35 am

I’ve you’ve EVER gone through the home buying process you have to know the amount of time it takes to close. Does anyone really think a camera crew is going to follow these people around for the whole search? It doesn’t make any sense to do that. I’ve always known it was staged, just from logic. Touring homes that aren’t on the market was a bit of a shock but when you’re short on time and you have a production schedule and budget you do what you have to do.

shabbychick June 15, 2012 at 9:38 am

Well I hope all of this exposure wasn’t overly stressful for you. I am very upset with HGTV (not Bobi!). I expect this from shows like “Real (fake) Housewives” (which I do not watch) but not from a real estate show! It’s not even that they film them after the fact, it’s that they showed houses that weren’t even really for sale, and that these poor friends had to clean their homes in order for HH to have properties to showcase! I’m not upset because I thought it was 100% authentic, but because it’s nearly 100% phony. It’s nothing but a useless waste of time to spend watching episode after episode of lies. But that’s just me ;)

Teacup Lane June 15, 2012 at 9:39 am

This shows how your blog, “Hooked on Houses,” is growing in fame Julia! As you said you have done previous postings on shows on HGTV similar to this one so I wasn’t surprised that the shows are staged. I watch “House Hunters” because I like looking at anybody’s homes and I like to see what the new owners do with their winning home. One thing I don’t like about “Property Virgins” is they don’t show the buyers in their new home setting. At least “House Hunters” does. Your blog ROCKS!

Kit Lang June 15, 2012 at 9:39 am

I’ve always loved this show and watch it faithfully at 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday – it’s part of my pre-dinner routine and I love it. That said, I never thought it was “real”. I mean, I know the house they eventually buy is the one they buy, but I never for a minute assumed that they actually go and see three houses and pick one to buy (!) or even that of the three houses shown, they’re all actually contenders – but rather ones that are seen during the time the film crew is there.

Why is this such an “ESCALANDO!!!”? :)

I don’t have the answer to that, but I am pleased in a way that it happened, because as a result of that, I found your blog, which I read with great enjoyment last night for about an hour. And then I subscribed – so thanks!

Delores June 15, 2012 at 9:48 am

Really? OMG! I can’t believe it! You mean it is all staged? Just kidding Julia. I can’t believe viewers actually thought this show was real. I watch it whenever I’m bored as I like to guess which house the buyers chose, but I never believed that it was a “reality show” filmed in real time.
Great post! Great blog Julia!

Lisa June 15, 2012 at 9:52 am

Jules!!!!

I thought it was amazing all the hub bub that was raised on your post. I remember reading it, back then and saying to myself..she wouldnt fake it and try to not encourage people to watch the show..plus, it is only obvious that you cannot shove all that info into a 30 minute show.

I about DIED when my husband read me the main page on Drudge..I said THATS my friend Julia!!! I imagine you have been completely over inundated..thats good/bad, Im sure.
keep up the excellent work that you do, girl..so fun to read your blog!
Lisa

grapevine93 June 15, 2012 at 9:53 am

I doubt anyone with a normal modicum of intelligence would honestly believe in 30 minutes and only 3 houses, people are choosing their important real estate investments & family home. I think it is enormous fun to participate in the selection with each show. With frequent corporate transfers… and in pursuit of expanded spaces… my husband and I have moved many times. I find the reactions on the show generally authentic to the house and person’s circumstance EveN if they are repeating it after the fact of purchase! Scandalous? No, not at all. I’m learning a lot new about selling in today’s market both from this blog & program. We always looked first for location (what’s outside the windows in setting, is less changeable than what is inside) then “good bones” in a house…and knew we could paint off colors etc. Much less willingness in buyers today to buy less than “turnkey” quality. I am always eager for and happy when my “for sale” house finds a good home with new owners who will love and care for it as we have. Hope HGTV Keeps House Hunters going for a long time to come…& you this blog! There is a new & growing (baby boomers) market of downsizer’s that I would like to see more relocations of, as well. …

J. Elizabeth June 15, 2012 at 9:59 am

Can’t believe this is a controversy. Do people really think that buyers only look at 3 houses before making up their minds? Or that HGTV sends a film crew to tape all 15 or 20 or 50 houses someone looks at and then chooses the best 3? Don’t they find it suspicious when buyers say they can’t live in a house with THIS carpeting or THAT wallpaper border? Seriously? Never thought about some of the houses not being on the market, but why should that be a big issue? Everyone I know who watches HH does it because they LOVE looking at houses not because of the “plot”. The only thing I would probably get upset about is if they were lying about the prices.

Love that Hooked on Houses is getting some much deserved attention. Great blog, Julia. And I love what you did with your bedroom!

Laura June 15, 2012 at 10:00 am

I’ve watched the show (when there’s nothing else on) and the main reasons I’m not crazy about it are the boring houses which all look alike to me, and the people who MUST have granite, stainless steel, humongous master suite, etc. I actually may watch it again just to try to guess which house they already bought, based on the hairstyles (good tip, Bobi!). HH International is still fun, and My First Place is pretty good since the houses are generally not so cookie-cutter. I wish HGTV had more good room makeover shows, or some shows with decorating more like what you’d find in Country Living or the old, and wonderful Country Home. More of a lived-in look. I’m not an HGTV expert, though, maybe there are shows like that and I just don’t know about them. Any tips?
I do think it’s pretty creepy to pretend it’s a reality show and have the people so blatantly lie. If I liked the show more I’d care more, I guess.

Spring June 15, 2012 at 10:26 am

This made my morning. How funny that this created such a stir. Remember to use your power for good. And donuts (which are good). :)

ONEWEIRDWORD June 15, 2012 at 10:38 am

Let’s face it Julia, this week you went viral! It’s pretty cool.

Dr. Gary Sweeten June 15, 2012 at 10:39 am

My dad argued with me long and loudly about the fact that wrestling was real way back when it started. he needed to think it was real but if it had been no wrestler would have lasted more than one match. they would have been dead. I was on a TV Reality Show as a “Member of the Audience” that they just “happened” to call on about marriage and family life which “just happens” to be my profession. Nothing is real when TV Cameras are on.

Caroline June 15, 2012 at 10:42 am

I love your blog and I’m happy it’s famous now. I hope you will see many wonderful opportunities come out of this.

Kitsey Farrior June 15, 2012 at 10:43 am

I really do not care if it is real because it is very entertaining especially if it shows real places and other countries.

Cindy June 15, 2012 at 10:54 am

Honestly, I think the best thing to come out of this little tempest in a teapot is that more folks will discover this awesome blog! Can’t beat that, right? ;-)

Two things make me shake my head in wonder, though:
1. There are still people out there that didn’t realize there was a strong element of…fakery…involved in this show (and most others) .
2. The fact that *anyone* would blame Julia for ‘ruining it’ for viewers is just mind-boggling! I don’t even know what to say to that. :-0

Julia – you just carry on as you have been. I love you blog! You haven’t ruined a doggone thing, as far as I’m concerned.

Rebecca C. June 15, 2012 at 11:02 am

Things will settle down and we’ll go back to our talks about nice cottages and Bad MLS listings in no time.

I cannot believe that people thought the show was real. I still like to watch it to see the housing stock in different areas of the country. It’s fun. It’s entertainment.

Kristen @ More Than Mulberries June 15, 2012 at 11:02 am

Still one of my favorite shows to watch – no matter how they film it! *I* don’t know what home they chose, so there is still a surprise for me in it.

So leave me out of that “millions you ruined it for.” How silly is that?!? Love you and your blog Julia, don’t let the expose get you down!

Janice Mahon June 15, 2012 at 11:27 am

Julia, you are the greatest! You had it with me with “hello.”

House Hunters. How many of these home owners have gone to foreclosure? HGTV doesn’t show them, with their “oh we can afford this” and their stainless steel kitchens and hardwood floors, blah blah.

Millions of homes in foreclosure every year, one of them must be one of these dupes.

I stopped watching the shows after I had enough of the “scripted” bs.

Love you Julia.

Caron June 15, 2012 at 11:41 am

WOW! I just popped in to see what’s going on, and look at you! How exciting to have been featured at so many places.

I confess, we knew all about this when we met a Realtor at an Open House here in the Bay Area that had participated in House Hunters. She was so funny! She was actually embarrassed at the scripts and how the whole process worked, and didn’t want anyone to recognize her on the show. I thought it was such a great opportunity for her to showcase her abilities and our fabulous area, but she didn’t quite see it that way. I do think her buyers had a great time being on TV!

Doesn’t really keep me from watching the show – it’s a totally guilty pleasure, especially when it’s House Hunters International. Love the island stories. Have a great weekend Julia!

Laurel @ SoPo Cottage June 15, 2012 at 11:50 am

Good for you Julia! I think we all had a hunch that these shows were staged. You were able to prove it. Probably a bit embarrassing for HH, but it’s good to know the truth. And I’ll be watching for the hairstyles to predict which house they’ll buy from now on!!!

Laurel

Laura @ Cookiecrumbs and Sawdust.blogspot.com June 15, 2012 at 11:54 am

Whoa! I never would have thought it would be such a big deal either. Keep doing what you’re doing. I think HoH is awesome.

Laura

Steve June 15, 2012 at 12:06 pm

We’re addicted to House Hunters, International, My First Place, etc. and always knew there was something faked about the shows because nobody buys a house n that time frame. However, I always thought the show was made up of bits that were shot weeks or months apart and made to look as though they were happening during a week or so. The reason is watching mens’ beards come and go, womens’ hair styles/colors change and seeing a couple walk into a house through the snow on one day and see trees blooming when they go to the next house. The most fun with these shows is wanting to reach through the TV and slap some of these people. They complain that they were shown a house $3,000 over their budget when they haven’t yet made an offer, whine about paint colors in an otherwise perfect house or refuse houses due to the lack of granite countertops and stainless appliances when their budget is a few thousand over the cost of a double-wide. It’s also shcoking to see all these people having almost nothing down and even financing their closing costs after the housing market meltdown. Where are they getting these loans????

Terry June 18, 2012 at 10:22 am

Go Steve! Go Steve! Go Steve! The problem isn’t that the show is scripted, the problem is the exact same inane comments made by the buyers. House Hunters needs a new script writer. The show is stale. It is on ALL the time. It is becoming all about product placement (House Hunters in College Station, TX). I get my peeping-tom fix right here at Hooked on Houses.

Destiny June 15, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Brace yourself, Julia, they just featured this story, mentioning your blog, and subsequent comments on today’s “Inside Edition.”

As I see it, you don’t make the news, you just report it. Enjoy your weekend!

CottageGirl June 15, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Oh my goodness! I’ve been living in a vacuum the past few days and had not heard about all the hub-bub over your House Hunters post.
Even though I’m a bit disappointed, I’ll continue to watch the show. Let’s face it, followers of yours love to look at houses!
It is good, however, to know the extent that HGTV goes to to put on the program. I’ll definitely be watching, but probably with a more discerning eye … And not just on House Hunters but on ALL “reality” shows.
Thanks Julie!

Mandy June 15, 2012 at 1:02 pm

I can’t believe people actually care that much (I’m talking about those who accuse you of “ruining it”). Maybe I’m just not a big TV watcher, but I’m not glued to the edge of my seat when House Hunters (or pretty much anything else) comes on, regardless of whether it’s real or fake.

sue {laundry for six} June 15, 2012 at 1:10 pm

I have read your previous posts on this, so I already knew. (And I watched Design Mom’s episode of House Hunters International, which was nothing like how she explained finding their house as it was actually happening.) I am sort of surprised that Bobbi’s family looked houses that weren’t even for sale, but I still love the show and will watch it. I like the evaluation process, even if it’s not real – it’s food for thought. And I love looking at the insides of all those houses!

Annmarie June 15, 2012 at 1:37 pm

I’ve been loving your site for years and was quite surprised to hear it’s name on CNN last night! I thought “that Julia girl from Hooked on Houses is famous now”! Your blog is fabulous and I hope that you have received many more visitors with positive attitudes. There is NOTHING real about reality TV! Actually news stories aren’t all that real either as I recently learned by being interviewed myself. Apparently my story didn’t fit what the film crew wanted to hear so they interviewed an employee at the hospital instead of an actual patient (me)! The whole premise was a patients perspective. Insane right?!
I LOVE LOVE LOVE HGTV and House Hunters! I wasn’t naive enough to think it was all the way it seemed. If you have ever seen a television show being recorded, it takes the bloom off the rose, so to speak. It loses it’s charm and believability. Anyway, I wish you continued success with your phenomenal blog! I know I’ll continue to visit.

Tessa @ twoinspiredesign June 15, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Ha–I never knew it was even a secret–years ago a friend did it and spoke openly about the process. yikes.
Thanks for the comment on our blog today. We live in the next town over to the planes, trains house and after seeing the post, a friend emailed saying her friend actually owns the house–apparently they’re in their late 30s which surprised me. Small world. Thanks Julia!

Te June 15, 2012 at 2:29 pm

For crying out loud. Except for the evening news there is nothing fact based on TV anymore (oops, close but no cigar). At any rate. Anyone who has ever purchased a home has usually looked at a gazillion listings. Anyone who has shopped for a home knows that the home that is clean and staged is much more appealing that one that is covered in the seller’s collections and bad color choices. I think House Hunters and Designed to Sell are both really entertaining. Both shows put out a lot of useful information for buyers and sellers. They represent the home buying/selling process like a good piece of expressionist art.

Eileen June 15, 2012 at 2:59 pm

It’s pretty crazy how things can spin out so much in the media. I for one am a bit surprised that it was deemed a ‘scandal.’ Was I surprised about the other 2 houses portrayed in Bobi’s story were not even for sale? Yes, I actually was. But I knew from before (from your blog at that :) they had already picked and were in escrow when they were picked for HH, so it wasn’t a far stretch. I jut love houses and seeing the show isn’t going to change.

On a sidenote, I am happy that you got lots of (hopefully more good than the people who were ‘ruined!’ :) ) exposure. I appreciate good blogs and I think HoH is one of the best. Have a great weekend!

Laura June 15, 2012 at 3:18 pm

could you have just not said anything at all. Doesnt change the fact of me watching it. Just leave shows like that alone. Find other things to do with your time.

Christina from Dallas June 15, 2012 at 3:23 pm

There is not a lot of reality in reality shows. There’s even that rumor going around that the “Miss America” pageant is faked. Who know if that’s true or not but no one should blame you for bursting the reality show bubble. The people that think everything is real on tv need a reality check themselves.

Dawn June 15, 2012 at 4:29 pm

Bottom line: I love house hunting too! So, I could really care less that the show is staged to a certain degree. I’m a lookie loo and just love seeing inside other folks homes. Keep it coming HH!

Kelly at Talk of the House June 15, 2012 at 4:31 pm

Glory! While I have been cleaning the decks, painting trim in the house, and buying pillows all of this was happening? Wow! The fact that people thought all of that was real is insane…totally. And we wonder why our country is in such a bad economic crisis…people will believe anything. I bet they think Survivor is real too. ha ha. I don’t even believe everything I hear on the news.
Well, “this too shall pass”. You do a great job here with your blog, and I am sure you are picking up many more LOYAL readers….just delete the mean emails dear. They are not worth your time, because you are better than them. End of sermon. :)
Kelly

Susan June 15, 2012 at 4:33 pm

Julia, I was so excited to see your blog page on the local TV news this morning! Very cool.

Of course I’ll still watch the show. I am after all, hooked on houses!

shannon June 15, 2012 at 6:38 pm

You did an amazing job and I wouldn’t feel bad in the least, because as you said, the truth was already out there. I still watch the show, have been house hunting for close to a year myself and had an idea how it worked without even investigating and almost all I know who watch it knew that as well. I think its a good thing that they are transparent about it, like the HGTV memo said… there is no way they could film all that goes into a house hunt in a format that would cover it all in just a half hour. Its a fun show for entertainment and a little bit of information, their process can’t hurt anyone. Now if only other shows that DO directly affect consumers had their curtains pulled back… like EXTREME COUPONING!! I have many blogger friends who have been on the show or have been invited to appear but turned them down when they found out the real process, set ups, and trickery behind the show. Incredibly missleading to regular consumers… and it has been outrageously damaging to those that actually use coupons and sales to get by with many top retailers changing or eradicating their coupon policies, and raising such an evil stigma when people shop with even a few coupons. Those are the shows that should get nailed with all the media circus!!

hookedonhouses June 15, 2012 at 7:01 pm

I hadn’t heard any stories about Extreme Couponing yet. Interesting!

Mary June 17, 2012 at 6:46 pm

I do coupon, not to the extent of the show. I have never cleared a shelf (I usually only buy 2-4 items of a deal) I have heard many things about Extreme Couponing. The vast majority of the time, those stores are making exceptions for the show. They would normally limit the number of coupons that are doubled or the value. They would also normally limit the number of items. Most of the deals would never happen if it weren’t for the cameras. The worst part of it is that now other stores are changing their coupon policies and hurting the normal couponer because of so many people out there trying to abuse the system and trying to get the same deals as the show!

Mark June 15, 2012 at 6:55 pm

Really?? People are upset with YOU??

Why your Blog is FUN its a GREAT BLOG about HOUSES!! So you wrote a post on what goes on behind the scenes on HH its a show about houses right? If those people really thought you could buy a home in 30 minutes there is some swamp land in Florida they can buy (Sorry Florida but you have a lot of swamp land – but I love your State!!).

Keep up the great BLOG!!!

Brandy June 15, 2012 at 7:36 pm

Other than my local paper, there are only two sites/blogs I check every single day–sometimes a few times a day:

-Your A-mazing Hooked on Houses blog that let’s me revel in my real estate/floor plan p*rn addiction :-D

&

-Mental Floss, which is my daily dose of trivia.

But, this week? I got both in one dose with Mental Floss featured your “expose” (funny that it only just now became a “big” deal) in one of its daily links lists

Keep up the great work!

Alex June 15, 2012 at 8:01 pm

Maybe I’m dumb but this was actually quite a shock to me. I would have never thought that HGTV would need lie about the process home owners go through to buy their homes. I’ll still watch regardless though because I love looking the houses.

How real is “My First Place”? Does anyone know?

Kim June 15, 2012 at 8:23 pm

I don’t have a problem with you revealing the truth about House Hunters. It’s fun to read or watch behind the scenes. I’ve just gotten sick of House Hunters because that’s all they really play on HGTV. Looking at houses for sale online is more fun to me than watching that show.

susan June 15, 2012 at 9:17 pm

I saw your web site on TV! They were talking about “the scandal”…I wonder why this post kicked up such interest, and the older posts hadn’t.

Erin June 15, 2012 at 9:28 pm

Wow, Julia, who knew you were the “Deep Throat” of HGTV between your daily blogging and redecorating your bedroom?! I’ve always thought of that show as a Three Little Bears of house hunting…always three homes, always this one’s too big, this one’s to small, this one is just right!

Janice Mahon June 17, 2012 at 11:38 am

Oh dear God, Deep Throat! Are you insane? Yes, they are scripted. They say the same things, ooh and ahhing about the wood flooring, the stainless steel applianeces. ” OOh look at that, the backyard would be wonderful for our dogs!” “Can we afford this?” Well, can you? Did you go into foreclosure after you purchased?

I will not watch HGTV after this. The shows are just a sham.

Erin June 17, 2012 at 4:10 pm

Janice, I was having a little joke. The fact that Julia’s original post caused such an uproar is funny to me. Anyone who has ever purchased a home knows that is looks nothing like this…if only you could choose a perfect house after looking at 3 homes for half an hour total! It’s obviously scripted and edited. I think the “scandal” is a bit silly- most of us know reality TV is anything but real (although the revelations as to how “not real” have obviously been a shock to some-based on the responses she’s had). Julia’s post was interesting, but I doubt she imagined the response it would generate- hence the irony! That being said, Julia’s blog is great, and I think all this publicity will just bring more readers to HoH- a happy outcome to Julia’s unintended “expose” of the obvious!

Wade Watson June 15, 2012 at 9:36 pm

As a blog enthusiast I’ve been in awe of you ever since discovering Hooked on Houses. I’m not surprised you can produce a post that makes mainstream news. You’ve got the perfect storm of writing talent, a fun subject and an enthusiastic following. Keep up the good work.

Angie G June 15, 2012 at 10:04 pm

When someone has something they love in life, like oh say, houses, we tend to obsess, and enjoy the details. We get used to them. And I guess sometimes we overlook that. I know I’m guilty of it.

For example, for several years I worked in television doing classical special effects. Working on a movie set was exhilarating, incredible and exhausting. There is an enormous about of work that goes into shooting even one “shot.” Most people don’t realize that in this case of HGTV’s House Hunters, in order to actually shoot the show, the cameras and lighting, electricity and everything needs to set up, as each take is made. Producers, Directors, lawyers, catering. The list goes on and on. Everyone has to do their elite best, ALWAYS, or the shot fails.

Most viewers don’t really consider the process because shows by definition are supposed to be captivating; they are designed to let you submerge into that world for those 30 some odd minutes. If they didn’t, you’d be paying attention to all the mistakes and spoofs that happen every day.

You know that moment you see a microphone form the sound guy pop into view? You are no longer thinking of the dialogue, or the storyline. You’re only laughing at the goof-up.

For example, we have never seen a buyer on the show who said, “Get out of my face with that stupid camera, would you?” We don’t see them tripping over cables, bumping into each other, falling down the stairs, or anything else that may happen ad lib in a home on the market. HGTV knows we don’t want to see that. What viewers really want to see is people buying a house. That’s it in a nutshell.

What the show DOES deliver is truth about the process. Every first-time homebuyer can easily verify, we have all spoken many of the words and felt the same feelings buyers on the show demonstrate. Some of it is verbatim. It’s one of the most stressful and monumental decisions a person is going to make in their life.

So it boils down to this. Does the show offer what it claims to? Yes, it sure as heck does. It is a popular resource because of its ability to educate those in search of a home. It makes us feel like we are not alone in this frightening process. We can DVR up some camaraderie at 2am when we are fighting insomnia wondering about that home we just saw today. It feels like a friend because in a way it sort of is.

HGTV is irreplaceable; there is simply nothing out there like it. The shows it creates are like nurses and parents and experts all in one. It is our mentor. It is like home away from home.

But it isn’t “home.” It’s TV. It has done its job very, very well. Thank you for that HGTV!

Sue June 16, 2012 at 6:26 am

“What the show DOES deliver is truth about the process. ”

No it doesn’t. No one (no one that I know, anyway) waltzes into 3 houses and buys the one with stainless and granite in the kitchen. Sure, there is stress involved, but on HH that is smoothed over for the camera — or, so we would have believed before this tempest occurred. IMHO, the whole HH thing is “designed to sell” HGTV on as many viewers as they can attract, with the ultimate side effect being the homogenization of American taste (good grief, people, there IS life after granite!!). Why else would HH have branched out to include HH in Europe and be offered on HGTV umpteen times a day?

And if that isn’t enough, we now have HGTV magazine available at your local home store. . .

I know this will be an unpopular comment, given all I have read above, but I, too, am “hooked on houses” and used to watch HGTV as often as I could. I just find it too restrictive to allow me to indulge in my house-watching passion.

The Other Sue June 16, 2012 at 9:26 am

I agree — HH has nothing to do with the home buying process — it’s all about selecting a house to buy. Other shows do touch on the nitty gritty of a home purchase — putting your own home on the market, coordinating closing dates, negotiating sales price/points/commissions/closing costs/inspections/repair costs/losing out to a higher bid. Very stressful! This is the “reality” that is not shown on HH, but perhaps that’s what makes it a pleasant show to watch. We just see the fun part of the process. Rather like going clothes shopping without the chore of trying on or paying for anything!

cecile - aix en provence June 16, 2012 at 2:28 am

Hi Julia!
I’m not perfect in english but I think I understood most of the problem here.
I don’t know that special show but of course we have some of the kind in France; you have no real responsability in the scandal because there should be no scandal at all if people could think with their own brain. Real TV shows and entertaining shows are meant to be ENTERTAINMENT! If people think it’s 100% true well…there are not really smart (sorry, I don’t mean to be rude but…). What’s shown on tv is always “put on scene” like a movie, there is a casting, there is a script plus a bit of improvisation maybe, there’s a director, make up artists… How could all those shows be really real in 30 mins of time! Of course tv is a dream window but we all know that it’s TV! For those who don’t know let me tell you something (because you deserve to know) : magic do not exist too; David Copperfield didn’t really made the Effeil Tower disappeared, it was a trick!
Well Julia, I think you’re famous know and troubles come with the fame because people like to make fuss about anything and nothing!
Go one Julia, your site is the best!

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com June 16, 2012 at 7:09 am

A. Whoa!
B. Too cool for your blog/website. *high five*
C. I had no idea.
D. You know, it definitely affects weather or not I watch. I don’t want to see homes they didn’t even consider. Their friends homes? Where is the fun in that? I don’t mind them playing up the smaller house thing but the fake house shopping feels like a betrayal and act of laziness. I won’t be watching that again.
E. Thank you for sharing! I’m so glad to learn the truth.
F. I can’t believe some people are sad because you ruined things? Really? That’s like being an adult and being sad when you learn about the Oz behind the curtain.

Dan June 16, 2012 at 7:16 am

I think you are all a bunch of nuts to even be into this type of show, nevermind caring if it is real or not. Get a life, get out and see the world in person.

Tracy Kay Griffin June 16, 2012 at 7:42 am

I am so glad the sad truth of HGTV show’s came to the surface. I was a “Behind-the-Scenes Designer” for HGTV’s “Get It Sold”, hosted by Sabrina Soto. It was declared that Sabrina was the “Expert Home Stager” and she was staging the homes that were showcased on the show, when in fact, I was the stager (along with one other interior decorator) doing all of the planning, all of the shopping and all of the work. I was absolutely amazed at how contrived everything was. The poor homeowners and their homes were used to create the show, oftentimes being mistreated in the process. It made me very, very sad to learn the truth about HGTV when I was working for an HGTV show. I have tons and tons of dis-heartening experiences that burst my HGTV bubble long ago.

Wade Watson June 16, 2012 at 1:35 pm

That hurts. Now you tell me Sabrina’s just a pretty face for TV? Nobody say a thing about Santa Claus.

shabbychick June 16, 2012 at 4:05 pm

This is all just too despicable. I’m SO not surprised about Sabrina Soto….I’ll bet we’d find the same story behind the scenes of all the HGTV shows. I am not a stupid person, and I am not a trusting person, either. I never believe that TV is 100% real….. good grief nobody believes that! But when you learn that even a show about real estate or decorating is 100% contrived and fake, come on! It’s senseless! How hard is it to find a REAL decorator/host who actually DECORATES? Is that such an outrageous concept? Is Candace Olsen even for real? I really hope that HGTV changes their ways, and if not then I hope they lose a lot of viewers. The way I look at it is if they can’t be bothered to hire REAL decorators and show houses that are REALLY for sale, then guess what? I can’t be bothered to watch.

shabbychick June 16, 2012 at 4:11 pm

The way I see it is if HGTV can’t be bothered to hire decorators and designers who ACTUALLY DECORATE AND DESIGN, or show houses that are ACTUALLY FOR SALE then I can’t be bothered to watch. Not to mention….Sabrina Soto? We had to put up with that annoying flake AND SHE WASN’T EVEN FOR REAL?????? UGH.

shabbychick June 16, 2012 at 5:16 pm

Sorry for duplicate posts! The submit button was not functioning correctly….

Kathy Bokman June 16, 2012 at 8:24 am

I’m glad this has come out. I think hgtv has gotten lazy with there programming and this may force them to get to work and revamp there schedule. I mean really, hour after hour of the same shows! Who wants to watch anything so long. I have the tv on during the day for background sound. But the repitishion is getting crazy. And what has happened to the great design shows? Sarah, Genivive, Candice? I miss great design!

Kimberly June 16, 2012 at 8:30 am

First time visiting your site. Thanks for sharing about House Hunters. I won’t be watching the show as much.

Leslie June 16, 2012 at 8:45 am

I have to admit that even knowing the truth after seeing some of your earlier HH posts, I still watch HH, though less frequently. HHI gets me every time. Oh, and I just saw a story about Bobi’s experiences on the Today show!

Steve June 16, 2012 at 11:38 am

Following these posts the past few days I’m amazed at how many people feel betrayed that the TV show does not depict events in real time and as they happened. One of the best examples of what really happens involves the past two seasons of “Design Stars” and the home selling shows “Selling NY” and Selling LA”. Each program had one of the agents going from house to house with the producer of the “Design Star” show attempting to find a home to rent for the new season. Despite how wonderful a house looked, there was a lot of concern over having enough room for the crew, high enough ceilings for the lighting, too many windows to allow the lighting designer to balance the look of the place, how the wall space would photograph, etc. This is going to happen with any TV show or film. While HH uses a much smaller crew than a produced show like design star, they are still going to have to get a camera, sound and lighting in the room. And, these low budget shows, are not going to tie up a crew for two weeks to produce a 30 minute cable network show.
One of the best examples of behind the scenes secrets I remember is from the PBS series “Hometime”. This show was started in 1986 by Dean Johnson who has been with the show through today. The first thing they make no secret of is that Dean’s sidekick is always an attractive female who seems to be a stand-up comic. While she doesn’t do routines on the show, she adds a lighter touch. Dean once did a program showing behind the scenes and outtakes. He made light of the fact the people you saw on screen never did the construction. He would start driving a nail, the camera would stop and a crew would rush in to finish the construction before the camera came back on to show Dean standing with a finished project and satisfied smile on his face. You got long shots to see the number of people standing off camera as Dean “built” things. He also showed a number of outtakes where he, and his assistant, broke things, fell over things or just plain screwed up what they were supposed to build. All TV shows are going to be like this. Do you think the handful of people you see on “This Old House” really renovate an entire house? Do you expect Tom Silva and Richard Trethewy, who own large contracting companies, to spend their working weeks personally building a house? There’s a difference betwen reality TV and a news program.

Sue June 16, 2012 at 2:30 pm

“Do you think the handful of people you see on “This Old House” really renovate an entire house?”

Don’t get me started on “TOH.” That was bad news the minute it started, with host Bob Villa saying things like, “See this molding over here? + + pointing to ca 1890s Golden Oak doorway covered in paint + + “It’s old, it’s gotta go!” and next week it would be gone, replaced by some paintable-pine replica version from the local home store. IMHO “It’s old, it’s gotta go” NEVER belongs on a show (or a magazine or a website) whose goal it is to save old houses. Not hardly a month or two ago I saw an episode where an entirely original 1940s kitchen was totally destroyed in order to accommodate the ubiquitous granite and stainless steel. Good grief, I’d rather watch informercials.

The Other Sue June 16, 2012 at 3:32 pm

No00! Don’t rag on TOH!!! It’s my last holdout for sensible makeover shows. So many of the shows on HGTV & TLC have way to many scripted “antics” as part of their shows — hosts and designers guffawing over childish “play”. Just cut out all of the garboldy-gook and get on with the work! TOH is straightforward and infinitely more watchable.

I do agree with you, though, on preserving an old house with original woodwork and fixtures. Makes me sad to see some of the changes. But you will always have owners who want what they want, just like those who tear out perfectly good/attractive cabinets to replace them with “eco-friendly” ones. Huh??? Doesn’t make sense to me.

P.S. Bob Villa has been off TOH for a loooong time now!

Sue June 16, 2012 at 7:54 pm

Yes, thank goodness, he has, although I liked him much better on his guest appearances on Home Improvement/Tool Time. And you’re right about tearing out perfectly good cabinets (and other features) to replace them with “eco-friendly” ones. I mean, how “eco-friendly is it to use resources to replace things that don’t need replacing and then dump everything in a landfill???

That’s why I liked shows like Decorating Sense. Sure, they did things on a budget (and sometimes on a shoestring) and sometimes the results were a bit bizarre, but there was a lot of creative reuse and also, by using a lot of second-hand object, recycling. Maybe HGTV should take this opportunity to re-think their approach to home decorating-for-the-sake-of-decorating versus incorporating some of these real issues into their philosophy. I bet that would encourage a large portion of former viewers to tune back in, but they didn’t ask me + + grinning + +

Back to TOH, compare their philosophy (and their magazine) with Old House Journal. Not the current issues so much, because there is a lot of commercial modernism that has crept in over the years, but the older ones, back when Clem Labine was editor. Lots of tips on restoration and other how-to’s, and you don’t need to be an old-house enthusiast to use them.

Jenny June 16, 2012 at 1:44 pm

People were upset with you? That is so silly. It’s a tv show!

It is annoying that the show is fake, but it’s not really a surprise either. Honestly, are there any real reality shows?

Jennifer June 16, 2012 at 7:49 pm

You do an amazing job with this site. I check it every morning. I love it! I cannot get enough of it! It’s unfortunate such a stink has been raised. If viewers are really that surprised by this, then I’ve got some magic beans for them. It’s also petty of HGTV when you have featured their shows countless times and folks have commented by saying, “I’m going to check that one out.” I guess you can thank them for the free publicity and keep on keeping on. You really do do an incredible job. Keep up the good work!

Jared June 16, 2012 at 7:50 pm

We all still love you Julia. You have lovely taste, a good sense of humor, and you help expand the mind of the decor-ly challenged everywhere. Honestly, I knew about this for a while too and thought most people had. I mean its TV! Even the news is fake! Never the less I’m still following and loving.

Lisa Currie-Gurney June 16, 2012 at 8:59 pm

I love your blog, and appreciate the info you give. I had a feeling it was

“fake” to some degree. It’s TV for crying out loud. :)

Keep writing your blog. It is one of my favorites.

Hugs From My Heart

Vicki Wizniuk June 17, 2012 at 10:38 am

I just came across your blog via Pinterest. Love all the remodeling before and afters I’ve seen so far. And about this topic, I think it’s funny and doesn’t surprise me at all that we’ve been duped once again. It makes a lot of sense financially for them to create and tape that show in that manner. Thanks for posting.

All those “reality tv” shows are completely edited. Shocking! Ha, not really! lol

bermudaonion (Kathy) June 17, 2012 at 11:10 am

There was an article about this in our paper today and it mentioned you!

Pam June 17, 2012 at 12:22 pm

Since I head read here about it before, I thought it was kind of funny it was suddenly causing such a huge fuss. It hasn’t ruined the show for me at all, just changes the way I look at it. I still like it. Of course I love the vicarious peek into someone elses house. But wow, what a huge deal it has become!

Rebecca June 17, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Believe it or not, I only recently got addicted to HH and HHI. I can watch those shows forever. And, duh, you can’t buy a house after looking at only 3 houses, so it has to be staged. But that doesn’t make it ANY less fun or interesting. The behind peek was actually very interesting, because I wondered what the formula for this particular show was. Thank you!

Jackie Lee June 17, 2012 at 1:21 pm

My husband and I were featured in a segment of “How Clean Is Your House” years ago and I can honestly say it was the wonderfully fun way to have humiliated ourselves ever!!
The show was looking for a particular “subject” and we happened to fit the bill. Problem was, our house wasn’t all that dirty! They had us do all manner of things to make it look awful and then photographed that to show to the producers and even then we were told to not clean for weeks prior to the show and once filming started many tricks of the trade were used to make items stand out.
Even though it was quite staged, the cleaning methods shown really did work and the entire production crew as well as the stars were such fun we hated to see them leave! It was 3 days of pure nerve wracking fun!
Jackie in CA

Liz Lee June 18, 2012 at 9:22 am

Maybe it’s just me, but knowing the winning house has already been chosen, bought and paid for only makes watching “House Hunters” more fun to watch in the sense that often enough, I STILL disagree with the house hunting couple’s goofy, tasteless or improvident decision. As the case may be, and my opinion only of course. :)

And nothing tops the fun of House Hunters International – I could care less if the property on the other side of the world has already been decided on. It’s consistent, fascinating FUN to see what homes are like in other places.

Jackie June 18, 2012 at 9:47 am

I want a Behind the Scenes on The Crashing Shows … Bathroom, Yard (nolonger watch without Ahmed (sp?)

I read your “expose” on Designed to Sell

We’ll all still watch them (as long as our Favorite Host is Still Hosting, of course)

Becky June 18, 2012 at 11:47 am

Love your post about the airing of the show and this follow up post. Great job!
I guess there are people that take TV a lot more seriously than I do. I just don’t care. LOL

Karen June 18, 2012 at 12:09 pm

“Since Monday I have been deluged with two kinds of emails: those from readers who are furious with me “for ruining it for millions of people!” as one put it, and those from other people who have participated in HH and shows like it and have their own eyebrow-raising stories to tell. (Maybe I’ll share some of those with you someday, but let’s just say this type of thing goes far beyond House Hunters.)”

Wow! Imagine not realizing something on TV is staged and fake. Oh, the horror and the scandal. I am inspired by your muckraking abilities though! (Ha!)

I don’t watch HGTV anymore. I got tired of endless airings of house hunters. I do not know if they got rid of some of the other more interesting shows, like landscapers challenge or if it is the limited shows aired by my stupid service provider. At any rate, I just never watch it anymore.

cindy June 18, 2012 at 6:26 pm

About your article, troublemaker. Are you proud of yourself? A lot of people have changed their views about HGTV even me, but I still like to look at houses and the different areas. So, how much were you paid for this attention?

Sue June 18, 2012 at 6:31 pm

That’s a strange way to look at this and unkind besides.

Jennifer rizzo June 18, 2012 at 10:20 pm

The show I want to know about is love it or list it. Do they tell the people to make sure their house is dirty and to throw their clothes around the bedrooms? And do they ever plan anything? Some of thier ideas seem so unrealistic and when they can’t do it, its like no kidding….I’d like the scoop on that show!

hookedonhouses June 19, 2012 at 6:54 am

I would, too. Anyone been on it who wants to fill us in? :-)

john in nc August 5, 2012 at 10:08 pm

yeah and those arguments about things not getting done- so many snarky comments- is that supposed to add to the appeal of the show? too much like work to me- lol

and why do some shows frost over hanging paintings ?

Laura June 19, 2012 at 8:41 am

I hope your interview helps change up the show a bit. The formula has gotten stale for me anyway! I kept seeing your name mentioned around the web and I was like, “Hey, I know her!” (Isn’t the blogging world funny?) I’d love to hear what you think of Design Star so far this season!

hookedonhouses June 19, 2012 at 3:16 pm

I’ve been watching so far and they seem to be a really talented group this year. I’ve been pretty impressed!

Carolina June 19, 2012 at 11:37 am

What about Property Virgins?
In Brasil they just channel HHI (Fox Life) and it got a bit boring over time. But I still love PV!

Just wondering about that. Is it a bit real?

A bit shocked about HH though. hehe

Steve June 19, 2012 at 11:51 am

Property Virgins is the one that appears to be done in more real time. Seasons actually change while they are shopping and some “virgins” never do buy a place. Sandra has a pretty big agency in Toronto so, though I doubt she spends all that much time with the shoppers, she does have a staff. HGTV had the new version with a host that was, by trade, a radio personality. That seems to have disappeared and I don’t know if it was cancelled or simply ended the season. I know Sandra is supposed to be producing a new series in Canada, where the government subsidizes TV production. Whether HGTV picks it up, as it does with other Canadian series including the old Property Versions, remains to be seen.

john in nc June 20, 2012 at 11:22 am

i wonder if there is any ” scandal” involved with love it or list it-

john in nc

Annie Andre June 21, 2012 at 3:48 am

Hi there, i was recently on House Hunters International 500th episode.

I always knew that there was a a bit of dramatization. Yes parts of the show are dramaticized to reenact what already happened but i can say that the back story of the people being featured (which makes the show interesting) is true.

It’s a wholesome show and lets people experience vicariously what it’s like to choose a home in a foreign land. Overall I think you could do worse.

ALL REALITY TV shows have a fake aspect to them. The biggest loser, big brother, housewives of LA etc. It’s just the nature of the type of show it is.

Either you’re ok with it or you’re not. my father used to watch WWF wrestling. I thought it was fake. he knew a lot of it was fake but he still watched it for the entertainment aspect of it. LOL…
Great article by the way.

Jaime June 21, 2012 at 2:33 pm

I know that this will shock people, but reality TV is fake. I love “House Hunters” and couldn’t care less if it isn’t authentic. Do you remember when the show first start out and they supposedly went with people to tens and tens of homes? It was rather boring. I watch the show to see the houses. I find ideas for my own home. I couldn’t care less if the couple has already picked one or not.

arlene ervin June 22, 2012 at 4:52 pm

i love this site. i found it accidentally, back in 2010, when you originally posted this info. still dont understand why it is now such major news. in any case, just keep doing what you do. it is very satisfying for those of us addicted to beautiful living spaces. and i personally love HHI for allowing me to glimpse life in countries around the globe that i will never be able to visit in person. a question, though, is anyone as irked as am by both property brothers, and love it or list it? both of those shows expect the viewer to be completely stupid, and willing to suspend reality. unrealistic budgets, dream homes that consist of three redone rooms, homes with major structural issues that are never uncovered in the homebuying process, etc. what is your take on these? thanks

missy June 22, 2012 at 8:00 pm

I think it’s so funny that this has turned into a big story. Is there really ANYONE out there who thinks buyers would honestly ONLY look at three houses and pick one to BUY for a reality show?!? Maybe if you were getting the house for FREE! Come on.

Jane June 23, 2012 at 9:35 am

I would like to know the truth behind the hoarder shows. I know a professional organizer who turned down a request to be on one of those shows (there are at least two similar shows) because she didn’t like having to follow a general script or to shame people.

She also noted that those with serious hoarding issues often needed counseling for emotional issues, including serious depression, that led to the hoarding. Of course there are exceptions but she has dealt with many, many clients and hates the shows which supposedly “treat” hoarders successfully but in reality exploit vulnerable people.

Linda June 23, 2012 at 3:06 pm

I never thought anyone would only look at 3 houses but I did think the other 2 were ones they had considered and were on the market during their house hunt. That is the part that bothers me. So yeah, I used to watch HH all the time and now I’ve stopped. The message I’m getting is “You were stupid to believe this was true.” Message received.

Beth June 24, 2012 at 11:06 am

A few years ago, my husband was on a business trip and met a guy that was on House Hunters. He gave my husband the full run-down, so I have been aware of the true story for years. I still love watching the show but it really, really bugs me knowing that most of it is faked. Thanks for being honest with your readers!

Mary June 26, 2012 at 7:08 am

I appreciate the insight to House Hunters. I’ve always felt the most realistic view of looking for homes on this type of reality show was House Hunter Internationally since they’ve shown many couples or families being in a location for a short period of time, but perhaps this is wrong too.

Maria June 30, 2012 at 11:18 pm

Goodness, how did I miss all this kerfuffle?

And didn’t we all know this about House Hunters, like years ago? I guess this just means you’ve hit the big time getting all that notice! You go girl!

I pretty much never watch HGTV because it’s House Hunters all.the.time (yep, just checked and it’s on right now ‘natch). Same 3 track homes, everywhere unless it’s the international version. I do like Selling NY/LA though.

Tammy July 2, 2012 at 9:59 pm

Of course this is staged ! The mere fact that at the decision point the couples ALWAYS have the same house in mind was a tip-off to me. No negotiations, disagreements, pleading of cases, or compromises. Also, why is there always a top 3 – why not top 2, 4 ,5, or this one or nothing? In what parallel universe does any of this consistently happen? Sometimes it takes a year or more of either steady or spotty searches to find one’s dream home: is HGTV to stay in touch with these folks and be available to film when they want to view a home – then pick out the top 3? No – they select 3 homes, one of which is THE ONE and film an often entertaining and sometimes informative show. Lots of gullible people out there….

bw July 4, 2012 at 8:55 am

The other fake element in HH and HHI is the comments people make. Ever notice all the similar cliches they use? In every episode, someone says “I can see myself…” (living here, cooking in this kitchen, enjoying the sunsets from this balcony, etc., etc., etc.) Please HGTV… hire a couple of more creative writers.

Annie Andre July 14, 2012 at 11:32 am

LOL, i think i said that on the episode we were on but we never were given a script. It’s just something you say when a camera is pointing at you and choosing a house to live in. No one is a professional actor on the show and although you try to be yourself it’s really really hard..

MarcyannStriani July 14, 2012 at 11:09 am

I love ALL the shows on HGTV of course it is different
Than we see but isn’t all tv an illusion?
Nothing said would or could change my mind
From being a very faithful viewer!
I think we can look at it differently how much
Have we learned, what great ideas, what
Inspiration to keep up our homes!
So look at what you have gained!!

Leslie Weymann August 5, 2012 at 9:16 pm

House Hunters has always been one of my favorite shows! I love viewing houses, so this is perfect. (It beats Property Virgins because it actually shows the Before and After of the purchased house which, to me, is the most interesting of all aspects of the show)! But it never occurred to me that purchasing a house could all take place within a 30-minute show. With the dialogue so often the same in different episodes, such as “I’m not a fan of….” whatever, and “this space is a little tight”…… (Never cramped or too small, but “tight”)…, it soon becomes obvious it’s a “show” for viewers to enjoy (but perhaps an update in comments could be considered). It was obvious to me that the participants must have already purchased their house but were taken to two others for their “opinions”. The only thing that surprises me is they are actually REAL house hunters, REAL new home owners and not actors randomly chosen to act as man and wife or partners. ( Or are they ALL real? Maybe some actors? Actually, it really doesn’t matter to me, I enjoy the concept of the show anyway. — As to Designed to Sell, another favorite of mine, I really do miss Clive and his wonderful personality and easy humor, and I miss Lisa Porter and Tanya Nyak!

Reelthing September 22, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Sorry but the one being used around here doesn’t have any part that I can find that is true. The college kid buyer isn’t real his mother bought it as rental, the before and after 3 months stuff isn’t true – it was set up as before the renovations on a friday with some junk furniture they got someplace – that night all that went to dumpster so it could be setup for the 3 months later filming on monday, and of course the other two house they looked at are owned by their friends – so far as I can tell this is a boast for the real estate agent (the real buyer in this case) that is featured on the show and nothing more.

Television wrestling shows have more truth to them than HGTV House Hunters and that is most likely the case for the rest of their shows.

lucy November 18, 2012 at 6:53 pm

I used to love this show, I enjoyed it very much, it was nice and relaxing.
I will not and can not watch it anymore because it has changed so bad…..
Now it is not about the houses nor the learning, enjoyment, etc.
Now it is about dum couples looking for a house worth thousands of dollars and idiotically picking on STUPID things such as the color of the carpet,
the ugly lamp, the yard not big enough for their dog!!!!
IT IS NERVOUS WRECKING!!!!!
Please pick some half inteligent people so I can watch the show.
Not only are they dum and stupid, but so cheap—-it makes one nervous to watch.
(SAME THING IS STARTING TO HAPPEND WITH “LOVE IT OR LIST IT”

Ross Lytle November 25, 2012 at 1:08 pm

TV is entertainment. Nothing more, nothing less. The producer’s job is to get eyes for the advertiser. House Hunters was a great show. Great entertainment but unfortunately it has run its course. What’s next?

Tweety Kim January 26, 2013 at 10:22 am

I’ve been watching House Hunters since 2002 and this “scandal” doesn’t bother me at all. I’ve learned a tremendous amount about the house buying process (like what to look for, what to watch out for and what questions to ask) by watching HH and shows like it and, when my husband and I bought our first home in 2010, all that information came in very handy. I’d much rather watch and learn on HGTV’s staged show(s) than waste my life watching Honey Boo Boo, the Kardashians, the “Housewives of Purgatory,” or some guy or gal trying to find a forever mate on camera. Come on, reality…I think not.

Tweety Kim January 26, 2013 at 10:32 am

I’ve been watching House Hunters since 2002 and this “scandal” doesn’t bother me at all. I’ve learned a tremendous amount about the house buying process (like what to look for, what to watch out for and what questions to ask) by watching HH and shows like it and, when my husband and I bought our first home in 2010, all that information came in very handy. I’d much rather watch and learn on HGTV’s staged show(s) than waste my life watching Honey Boo Boo, the Kardashians, the “Housewives of Purgatory,” or some guy or gal trying to find a forever mate on camera. Come on, reality…I think not. Oh and about Suzanne Whang,,,I miss her too. Was very disappointed when she was replaced but then found out that she left the show to pursue other opportunities. She did the show for 10 years for pete’s sake.

Katie January 26, 2013 at 5:23 pm

Wow, after watching this show almost every day for 3 years, I am very disappointed to hear this news. I was actually considering and was very excited to sign up for the House Hunters International but hearing this, it definitely takes the excitement out of the situation. Not sure if I’ll be watching this show anymore.

hvsteve1 January 26, 2013 at 6:45 pm

It seems House Hunters was the first in a number of revelations about these popular “reality” shows. There is now a scandal around the highly rated “Storage Wars” after one of the featured characters was booted from the show and is now claiming that the producers salt the lockers with good stuff because no sane person would ever forfeit a locket for a few months of rental payments when they have thousands of dollars worth of items inside. On a travel site I frequent, someone was posting just this week about the “Pawn Stars” store in Las Vegas ans how people line up to enter only to find none of the people you see on TV are there except when they’re filming and the place is full of junk, unlike the interesting and valuable items they show on TV. In other words, reality is not that entertaining and is always going to have to be sweetened by the producers, otherwise the show wouldn’t last a season.

Janice Paterson January 26, 2013 at 11:29 pm

What really kills me about House Hunters is how (although it’s never really disclosed) the wife seems to be able to pick the house and everything she wants in it, but she is not paying a dime! Where are women finding these men that will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a house JUST for them?? I know some people will not understand what I’m saying. But sometimes when I watch this show and see how some of the husbands cower down to their wives and what they want in a house, but yet in still he’s the one out working the 80 hours or more a week to pay for it….I really don’t understand it. If the husband and wive are both paying for it together or both put up the money for the down payment, then I understand, that’s different. But I feel that I have seen some extremely selfish women and some punk “a” men on this show. “Reality” or not.

Kimberly February 11, 2013 at 8:33 pm

who cares. I think you are missing the point it’s just to show a family who is looking for a home and 3 different homes that they saw and try to guess which 1 they selected. That is all the viewers care about.

Mary Lazaro March 22, 2013 at 10:48 pm

Please put house hunters international or house hunters back on Friday nights or any night. . It was my favorite night to watch but now i don’t. I don’t care for the flea market episodes. What do people expect? How else can you stage all of those important decisions in one half hour. Please put it back on. Let me know when they are scheduled so I can watch again. I also like property brothers, income properties, love it or list it. Not the love it or list it too, though. Thanks , Mary.

JT April 2, 2013 at 4:40 pm

My problem with these shows is that no matter how much work they do to a house, tear down walls, new electrical systems, new kitchens and bathrooms, it ALWAYS cost around $50,000!!! Give me a break!!!! Can someone explain to me exactly how these shows work? I am assuming that the sponsors give the homeowners free appliances. Maybe the labor is contributed by the show? Whatever it is that they do, it is unrealistic and misinforming. Send me the names of the contractors so I can hire them!!!

Carla Watkins April 27, 2013 at 9:51 am

I have noticed that on all of your make over shows the receivers of new kitchens, bathrooms and back yards all live in big fine homes. Well my husband and I live in a mobile home and it is in very good condition but needs a lot of updates. Our back yard also needs a lot of help. I feel that you should think of others not just the wealthy. We are both in our 60’s and would like to see our home look as good as those big fine homes. I feel that all of your shows discriminate against those of us that watch your makeover shows. Would you consider us as candidates or is your networks thinking we are not worthy because we live in a mobile home? I look forward to a response to my comment.

hookedonhouses April 27, 2013 at 9:56 am

You should take your concerns to HGTV.com. We’re just talking about the network here and have no control over which makeovers they do–sorry!

Dave May 15, 2013 at 12:39 pm

The show you should really look into are Kitchen Cousins/Cousins on call. These guys live in a building in Jersey City, NJ. There are serious water issues in the building, condo owners constantly have leaks and the cousins are more concerned with their TV careers than standing behind their defective work.

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