TV Column: NBC’s new home makeover show and an exit on ‘The View’

March 11, 2013

What’s the difference between the NBC that is in first place during the season’s fourth quarter, and the fifth-place NBC during the first quarter?

One reality-competition series hit and one football show.

To address half that problem, NBC has stepped in where ABC has pulled its foot out. NBC has ordered the home-makeover competition series “Renovation Nation,” which will be hosted by interior designer/Oprah protege Nate Berkus. (Last season, ABC ended its entry in the genre: “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”)

Berkus was available because his syndicated show recently was canceled for lack of viewer interest. He had a much better run during his eight years as Oprah’s in-house design expert on her syndicated talk show.

Home-makeover series aren’t new to broadcast TV. ABC had a monster hit with “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” after network suits decided that slicing and dicing homes that needed an overhaul was a better business model than doing the same to women’s faces (which was the subject of the network’s original “Extreme Makeover” franchise).


Joy Behar discusses her decision to exit ABC‘s “The View.” (Donna Svennevik/ABC)

Each week on “EM:HE,” experts made over homes for some needy family — veterans, victims of natural disasters, the homeless, etc. — ending with much weeping and hugging, and feel-gooding. At its peak, during the 2004-05 TV season, the show clocked about 16 million viewers; by its final season, it was down to less than 6 mil.

NBC, however, believes it has cracked the code: Homes will not be remade for some lucky family in need; instead, they’ll be remade for lucky . . . viewers!

The home builders and designers, meanwhile, will be competing for “a huge cash prize” and for the honor of being crowned something or another — NBC had not yet come up with a zippy, “American Idol”-esque title at press time.

Throughout the season, viewers can tour the homes virtually — and buy stuff!

And to make sure you tune in, weekly prizes will be given away to viewers, ranging from luxury household items to home makeovers — and cold hard cash!

“We believe we are in a time where Americans want to feel empowered and inspired to make changes to their homes; changes that will not only increase their value and quality of life, but at the same time — not break the bank, ” NBC reality-TV guru Paul Telegdy explained in Monday’s announcement.

‘View’ exits and non-exits

Right off the bat Monday morning, The Ladies of “The View” had to address all those media reports that erupted late last week as to the futures of two of the ladies: Joy Behar and Elisabeth Hasselbeck. According to various reports, both were exiting.

And what with Barbara Walters being back — after recouping from hitting her head and contracting chicken pox from some actor who had shingles — the conversation naturally turned to her:

“Here I am,” Babs began. “So last Thursday, I guess four or five days ago, Joy announced that she wanted to leave ‘The View’ and pursue other passages, which she will tell you about. Joy and I started the show together.”

Joy concurred.

“I sort of feel that I discovered you, even though you were already doing stand-up,” Babs continued.

Joy took the high road and agreed to credit Babs with “discovering me for national TV.”

“Sixteen and a half years,” Babs marveled.

“Barbara, may I interrupt you?” Joy asked. Stupid question.

“I just want to say I’m your best statement,” Babs answered.

“You are,” Joy said, taking advantage of Babs’s having paused to take a breath. “But 16 years I was married, also. I don’t like jobs to last longer than my marriage.”

“That’s a very good reason,” Babs answered absently. “But I do have to say seriously, that when you announced this last week, it was very bittersweet. I want what’s best for you. I want what’s best for all of you. But I have to say I will miss you. And I know . . . ” (That made it six “I’s” in all, in case you lost count).

Finally, Joy got to read her Top 10 Reasons for Leaving, starting with:

10. “ABC won’t let me drink on the air like Hoda and Kathie Lee.”

And ending with:

1. “The number one reason I’ll be leaving ‘The View,’ I finally will have a chance to fulfill my dreams: going a whole week without putting on a brassiere.”

Then, Babs grew serious.

“There is a particularly false story that keeps getting picked up about Elisabeth’s alleged departure, saying that we don’t approve of her conservative views. The truth is, we love Elisabeth. I like her personally, and she’s just a wonderful person. But beyond that, we value and appreciate her point of view . . . because Elisabeth helps give the show perspective and balance. And believe me, she’s tougher than she looks. She has to be, to sit here for a decade and take the kind of guff we give her. So we have no plans for Elisabeth to leave the show.”

The audience erupted into applause.

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