Hundreds of desperate homeowners applied,as did 1,500 hungry designers. By September,four homes will have sparkling new looks,and one of 10 finalist designers will be a TV star.
“HGTV Design Star,” a new reality competition series,will showcase designers eager to impress an expert judging panel with their creativity,ingenuity and design expertise in homes that need makeovers while sharing design ideas and tips with viewers.
“People watching – they want great tips and great design. But they also want entertainment,so we're giving them both,” said the show's host,Clive Pearse. “It's got great music,great information and great graphics. It's great fun.”
The champion will win his or her own design television series on HGTV.
“If you lose,you're out,but if you win,it will change your life,” Pearse said. “You cannot be a designer on HGTV and not have a series and not have it change your life.”
The British-born Pearse hosts the network's top-rated show,“Designed to Sell.”
The eight-week series will premiere Sunday at 9 p.m. EDT and PDT,and at 8 p.m. CDT and 7 p.m. MDT. The series will conclude Sept. 10.
At the end of each episode,Pearse said he will tell the losing contestant,“Your show has been canceled.”
Viewers will help decide the winning designer during the seventh episode through online voting or mobile phone text messaging. The final show will reunite designers who lost in earlier shows.
During the competition,designers will be pressed to their emotional,mental and creative limits as they face “devilishly clever” design challenges while working under incredibly tight deadlines,Pearse said.
“It's an opportunity for would-be designers to show off their skills while working under extreme pressure,” he said.
Pearse wouldn't divulge many details about the challenges,but he said they range “from the large scale to the unexpected.” Tasks include having to use only items found in dumpsters or a single can of paint to projects with a $10,000 budget,he said.
“The challenges are secret right now,” Pearse said. “They're all focused on great design.”
More than 1,500 designers submitted essays,portfolios and videos during the entry period last fall. Nine designers were selected by the show's producers and network executives,while the 10th candidate was selected by viewers and online users during a weeklong February vote on HGTV.com.
“There's a kind of design panic,because goodness me,they're desperate to win,” Pearse said.
Because the contest was open to anyone,contestants range in experience from professionally trained to self-taught designers from across the country,Pearse said.
“It has more drama than any of the other shows on HGTV,and like other reality shows,you really get to know the characters,” he said.
When contestants hit the deadline for their design challenge,they will be judged by an all-star panel of design experts – Martha McCully,Vern Yip and Cynthia Rowley.
McCully is best-known as executive editor of InStyle Magazine,and Yip is an award-winning architectural and interior designer who is also featured on TLC's “Trading Spaces.” Rowley is an award-winning international designer whose collection includes clothing and a host of accessories.
Four lucky homeowners chosen from of hundreds across the country will watch the contestants outfit their homes with some of today's hippest designs.
Pearse said that,even though HGTV is available in 90 million homes,“Design Star” would reach out to audiences that wouldn't normally watch the network's programming.
“This is perhaps the biggest and splashiest thing that's been on HGTV before,” Pearse said. “It's one to watch and people are in for a surprise.”