On Sunday, February 16th HGTV will debut their reboot of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. During its original run from 2003-2012, this family-friendly reality hit, which originally aired on ABC, was one of the most beloved shows of the early aughts. But, HGTV could not be a more appropriate network in 2020 to give the audience a feel-good show focused on design.
During its original run, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition was hosted by Ty Pennington with a variety of designers and celebrity guests coming and going over the seasons. In its new incarnation, Pennington’s role is filled by Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson. Casting also found the perfect dynamic trio in designers Breegan Jane and Carrie Locklyn along with carpenter Darren Keefe.
Meeting the cast in person, not only did the three have incredible chemistry (the kind of chemistry you can’t fake), but they were truly excited to be a part of this production “I think we’re all very grateful for the incarnation that existed before us and so happy to step into this role and carry the flag for this amazing show,” says Keefe.
The New Cast
Before being cast, Jane was best known for her work designing high-end homes and properties. Her name may sound familiar to some because she’s a media personality who regularly speaks at events and has appeared on KTLA in Los Angeles as well as The Hallmark Channel nationally. She also authored a children’s book titled Carbie.
Locklyn will certainly be recognizable to fans of The Travel Channel’s Hotel Impossible where she served as lead designer. She has also been featured on several HGTV and DIY Network shows including Don’t Sweat It and Garage Mahal.
However, the mother who calls New Jersey home, didn’t start out as an interior designer, rather she pivoted from a previous career as a professional organizer. On the show and in real life, Locklyn applies organizational methods to design, telling me her philosophy is that “great design can’t start without great organization.”
Rounding out the cast is Keefe, who was born in Northern Ireland into a family of craftsmen. He moved to the Midwest as a teenager, but ultimately settled in Los Angeles. In 2017, he founded Drumcree Designs, creating one-of-a-kind handcrafted furniture pieces for celebrities and businesses. With his charming Irish accent, he provides a warm, calming presence to the show.
New Era, Same Formula
While the reboot will in some ways be different than the original, it’s still a tearjerker.
“It’s such an enormous show and it’s such a huge experience to be able to change people’s lives through design,” says Locklyn. “I mean, we all love design, at the core, but to be able to walk into someone’s house and walk into someone’s life and change their tomorrow. I mean, that’s really what this show is about.”
While many HGTV shows emphasize the glamour of design, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is a bit different. Every family had specific needs and challenges that had to be prioritized over aesthetics, at least at the beginning of the project.
“We go in and we learn the story of the family, we see the family, we see their stories, we pinpoint what it is they need, and we move from there,” says Locklyn. “So we always start every design with practicality, organization, and functionality. Because we want these homes to be something that the families can grow with. We don’t want anything in the home to become a burden for them. We always say what is your story? What are your needs, and how do we attack that?”
As an expert in customizing furniture, Keefe’s skills were crucial. “Everything I designed was specific to the family. We really made sure that whatever we were building or designing, really fit the family. So a lot of the things that I built were at their specific request,” he says.
Unlike many HGTV shows where different designers and personalities build things with a signature aesthetic in mind, there simply couldn’t be a singular design template applied to all the projects on Extreme Makeover.
“Each home had a very different personality,” says Jane. “We were all pulling together. So each home is like a completely new style. Not any two were alike. They had completely different color palettes.”
Celebrity Guest Stars
Much like the first incarnation, there is no shortage of celebrity guest stars on the new show. Ty Pennington will return for several episodes along with Anthony Anderson, Derek Hough, LeAnn Rimes, Laila Ali, and Tyler Florence making appearances. A roster of HGTV stars including David Bromstad, Tamara Day, Tarek El Moussa and Jasmine Roth also grace the show this season.
Behind The Scenes
The cast gladly revealed how important the aspect of community was to the show. Many of the families featured are known locally for their own efforts to give back. In turn, their communities, even complete strangers, volunteered to help with the builds.
But, even with a massive crew working around the clock, there was no way to complete each project in five days (really, just five days) without the help of volunteers.
All The Feels
While there are ten episodes slated for the upcoming season, this is hopefully only the beginning of a long run.
“I think that it’s rare that TV is this positive and inspiring. And so to be a part of that was amazing. But I think that’s what we all loved about watching it,” says Jane. “And I want more content like this across all of our TVs. And I think this show really shows that viewers are looking for those heartfelt stories. They’re looking for something that’s bigger than them. And that’s what made me tune in, in the first rendition. And I hope that brings people back again now.”