The Untold Truth Of HGTV's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Revival

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition spawned during the reality TV boom of the early 2000s. It was a spin-off that came not long after ABC debuted a controversial series titled Extreme Makeover, which promised to improve people's lives through plastic surgery. Before long, ABC's much less invasive series became even more popular than the broadcast network's original version. With viewership that peaked at 16 million per episode, the inspirational home-renovation show featured contractor/host Ty Pennington leading a crew through extensive home renovations for numerous needy families until the series ended in 2012 after a nine-season run.

Seven years later, HGTV announced plans to revive the show. "This is a big win for HGTV and we can't wait to put our stamp on it," Kathleen Finch, chief lifestyle brands officer of Discovery, Inc. (parent company of HGTV) said in the network's 2019 announcement. The rekindled series would feature a new host and array of celebrity guest stars, but the same heartwarming premise — and, of course, the iconic bus that moves aside for each big reveal.

Fans of the original were understandably intrigued with HGTV's revival plans, and there's a lot to be learned about the return of this feel-good favorite. Read on to discover the untold truth of HGTV's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition revival. Note: Potential spoilers ahead.

This is how HGTV's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition revival came to be

From Punky Brewster to Saved by the Bell to even The Biggest Loser, new reboots of old shows continue to be made. HGTV, however, hadn't dipped its toe into the revival pool prior to revisiting Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

Kathleen Finch of Discovery, Inc, which owns HGTV, told Variety why the network decided this show was different enough to warrant a resurrection. "We like to come up with our own formats and our own ideas, but every now and then, there's something out there that just makes so much sense from a brand perspective that we have to do it," Finch explained, crediting the show's enduring popularity to the fact that it contains "real drama, and real stakes around a home being rebuilt."

Ahead of the series' February 2020 premiere, HGTV senior VP of production and development Loren Ruch explained why the timing was ideal for HGTV's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition revival. "I just feel like right now the climate that we're living in it feels like the show is the warm hug that everybody needs right now," said Ruch during an appearance at the Television Critics Association press tour, reported E! News.

Why a Modern Family star decided to host HGTV's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition revival

Several months after announcing plans to premiere HGTV's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition revival, the network revealed the identity of the new iteration's host: Jesse Tyler Ferguson, best known for his role as Mitchell Pritchett on ABC's hit sitcom Modern Family"I was so inspired by the original series and now I can't wait to help families as the new host of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," said Ferguson in the network's announcement.

Ferguson also shared the news with his social media followers in a video he posted to Twitter. "I cannot wait to bring you the next chapter of deserving families who are about to have their lives completely changed for the better, and I'm so honored to be bringing you these uplifting and inspirational stories," he declared.

Admitting that he "loved the original," Ferguson told Parade how he came to be involved. "The producers came to me because they wanted someone totally different from [original host] Ty [Pennington], and they wanted someone who could bring humor as well as a human connection," he explained. "It's a tricky balance because you're part Oprah Winfrey, part Bob the Builder."

HGTV's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition revival features plenty of guest stars

Not only did HGTV's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition revival return with a new host in Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Multichannel News reported that HGTV's resurrection of the beloved series would also introduce a trio of new designers: Breegan Jane, Carrie Locklyn and Darren Keefe, who would all oversee "whole-home overhauls" for families during the revival's first season. 

Multichannel News also revealed celebrity guest stars would be a part of the action, including Anthony Anderson, star of ABC sitcom Black-ish. "I will be part of making a real impact on a family's future," said Anderson in a statement to Variety. "The joy of working alongside people in the community to help a family get a fresh start in their new home is extraordinary." 

Also announced as guest stars: Dancing With the Stars' Derek Hough, OWN's Laila Ali, Food Network's Tyler Florence and singer LeAnn Rimes. Revealing in a statement that she was an "avid fan" of the original series, Rimes said that when she first heard about the revival, she knew she "just had to have a hand in it," She continued, "I'm ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work. Let's move that bus, y'all!"

This is how HGTV's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition revival will avoid the original's pitfalls

While the original Extreme Makeover: Home Edition was renowned for gifting life-changing, heartwarming home renovations to deserving families, there was also a hidden dark side to all those good feels. As it turned out, once the cameras packed up and moved onto the next reno, some families were unable to handle the increased costs of the larger homes. Among these costs were higher taxes based on the increased values of the renovated homes, which ironically led some families to lose their new homes to foreclosure.

However, that shouldn't be an issue with the HGTV reboot. As network exec Loren Ruch explained during a session for the show at the Television Critics Association press tour (via The Wrap), HGTV's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition revival has tried to ensure that "many of these homes are renovations of their existing property. So we're not creating McMansions or larger homes." Instead, "they're done in a more scaled way," according to the exec.

Ruch also revealed the show was offering the families "other financial options to help them out" such as scholarships, with a goal of assisting them "to succeed in the long haul."

You'll get to see Ty Pennington on HGTV's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition revival

If there's one person most associated with the original Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, it's host Ty Pennington. The actor/carpenter first came to TV viewers' attention via his role on TLC's Trading Spaces, which led to him being tapped to host ABC's Extreme Makeover spinoff.

Fans wondering why Pennington isn't involved in HGTV's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition revival can stop wondering — because he is! Announced as one of the guest stars to appear in the first reboot season, Pennington said he's thrilled to be a part of the new iteration, even if he's no longer host. 

"To be honest, my ego wasn't bruised," Pennington told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution of being replaced as host by Jesse Tyler Ferguson. "I went to the folks producing it and said, 'Hey, man. I know you are not sure who the host will be. I'm totally okay with that.'" Pennington did concede, however, why it was kind of a no-brainer for HGTV to include him in its rebooted version. "Let's face it," he said, "my voice and face are synonymous with the show."

Look for some network personalities to appear in HGTV's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition revival

Along with new host Jesse Tyler Ferguson, a trio of new designers, and a gaggle of celebrity guest stars, HGTV's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition revival will differentiate itself from the original by populating the show with the network's own personalities.

As Multichannel News reported, fans were told to expect appearances from an array of HGTV stars, including Tarek El Moussa of Flip or FlopJasmine Roth of Hidden Potential and Tamara Day of Bargain Mansions. According to the publication, at least one special guest will be featured in each and every episode.

According to HGTV, El Moussa shared a video on his Instagram Stories that he filmed from the location of his episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, which was filmed in Ogden, Utah. "It's going to be really, really cool," he exclaimed. "Exciting things going on. We are going to be giving back to an amazing family."

The heartwarming way HGTV's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition revival helped a refugee family

Salt Lake City's KUTV News revealed that HGTV's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition revival will help not one, but two deserving families in Ogden, Utah. One such family is the Barobis, refugees from the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo. According to Deseret News, the Barobi family didn't own a home, so a vacant lot was donated, upon which a new 2,900-square-foot, six-bedroom home was built. 

Ogden-based contracting firm Wadman Corp. donated its services for the construction, and company CEO David Wadman told Deseret News that the solar-powered home is so energy efficient that the family's monthly living expenses (including insurance and taxes) were estimated at just $200 a month. "This family that has gone from just horrific circumstances to come here and have a chance to live in a free country to do what they want to do, live the way they want to live, to be able to be what they want to be, this gives them a great head start," said Wadman.

One renovation on HGTV's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition revival will benefit the entire neighborhood

In the first season of HGTV's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition revival, viewers will meet the Fifita family of Hawthorne, California, a suburb of Los Angeles. According to a feature in the Californian newspaper Daily Breeze, the family landed on the radar of the show's producers thanks to the nickname their home had been given within the community: YMCA, referencing all the children and young adults that Brian and Lisa Fifita have taken into their home over the years. "They are a family who's always given back," a family friend told the paper. "They will take you in at any time and give you the shirt off their backs."

Given that the Fifita home encompasses a mere 887 square feet, the plan from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, reported the Daily Breeze, was to enlarge the structure significantly. Lisa Fifita's reaction to her enlarged new home pretty much said it all. "I just know that we will be able to have more people over," she told the newspaper.

How HGTV's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition revival found its families

When it came time to cast HGTV's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition revival, the network put the word out that the show was seeking families in desperate need of a home renovation who had also made an impact in the communities in which they lived. This is, as one might imagine, a tall order, and led to a nationwide casting call. 

HGTV's casting announcement was picked up by numerous local news organizations from coast to coast, ranging from Naples, Florida to Bakersfield, California. In its announcement, HGTV revealed that producers were seeking homeowners in dire need of a renovation, but revealed a twist that was being introduced: renters and those who were interested in relocating were also encouraged to submit applications.

The announcement provided information on how to apply, but also offered a bit of caution that the process could take a while. "Every application is reviewed by a member of the casting department, but please be aware that we receive hundreds of applications each week," read a notice for applicants (via KGTV), adding that "it could be several months before you hear from us."

HGTV's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition revival work crews need to move fast

While reality shows have been known to take part in hoaxes and lies to expand the potential for entertainment, there's one thing about HGTV's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition revival that is exactly as it appears on the show: the tight time limit.

As a story from KMJ in Clovis, California, revealed, the show constructed a brand-new home for a local man and his family in just 96 hours. Ryan DeYoung, president of De Young Properties, one of the construction companies featured in the series, described the experience of building a home in such a ridiculously short period. "It's definitely not a lot of time," DeYoung admitted. "We have 13-hour shifts, it's AM and a PM shift. We are straight all the way through until the very end."

Despite the tight timing, corners cannot be cut. As the Chicago Tribune reported back in 2005, the show has always fast-tracked the construction process but the work must be impeccable. "We had inspectors there on the job 24 hours a day," said Travis Jones, project manager on a 2005 Kansas City reno, insisting that all work had to be up to code. "It wasn't just thrown up and we said, 'Here's your home,'" he explained.

How HGTV's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition revival changed this man's life

HGTV's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition revival is similar to the original in that it focuses on improving the lives of the deserving families whose selflessness and generosity inspire viewers.

One such family featured in the new revival is the Reeder clan of Clovis, California, as reported by ABC Action Newsand the family's story is as tragic as any the show has ever seen. According to the report, Reeder — a local firefighter who has served his community for decades — lost his wife, Amanda Sawyer, when she died soon after giving birth to the couple's twin daughters in 2018.

According to the news report, the widowed, single father wasn't sure how Extreme Makeover: Home Edition came to hear about his story. When he received an email from a producer encouraging him to submit an application, he was glad he did. "Fast forward, here we are," said Reeder. "Best decision we ever made."

HGTV's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition revival helped a family recover from tragedy

For the season premiere of HGTV's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition revivalreported Peoplethe series found a very special woman to feature: Jessica Mosley, a social worker and single mother in Rosedale, California raising five children — two biological and three adopted siblings that she welcomed into her family in 2017 after working on their case for an adoption agency. 

As People reported, when Mosley's father died in a 2018 motorcycle accident, she and her children were forced to vacate their home, which had been purchased in her father's name with a veteran's loan. She and her kids then moved into a small three-bedroom home owned by her mother. "It was absolute chaos," she revealed to the publication. 

While Mosley told People that she and her children are loving their new Extreme Makeover: Home Edition house, she shared her hopes that when viewers see her episode it "will encourage people on the fence to take in foster kids, to adopt, to give back a little more and to inspire them to overcome things if they, too, lost a parent. I think that that's more life changing to me than anything else."

HGTV's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition revival features more than 10,000 volunteers

One of the more heartwarming aspects of the original Extreme Makeover: Home Edition was the way neighbors pitched in to help the deserving families who received renovations. In HGTV's reboot, that's only expanded. 

When the network debuted its first teaser video in November 2019, Deadline reported at the time that HGTV president Jane Latman detailed some of the amazing logistics that went into launching the reboot of the beloved series. "With help from more than 10,000 volunteers — families, friends and neighbors — sharing more than 560,000 hours of their own time, we improved the lives of 10 special families and created another can't miss television series on HGTV," she said. 

While receiving a new home is nothing short of life-changing for the families chosen for HGTV's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition revival, the same holds true for those who volunteer. "It's just an amazing feel-good story," Mike Caldwell, mayor of Ogden, Utah, told the Deseret News about the numerous residents who pitched in to help build a new Extreme Makeover: Home Edition domicile for a family of refugees. "I think it's a great reflection [of] what Ogden's all about."

Viewers will get behind-the-scenes access to HGTV's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition revival

In addition to broadcasting the resurrected HGTV's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition revival, the network is offering some expanded viewership opportunities to take fans behind the scenes in ways the original show never could.

Thanks to the power of social media, HGTV is providing additional content via Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, in addition to two online series on "detailing the stories behind the families and the home overhauls," the network noted in a press release

"There were so many amazing details about these special families and incredible home renovations from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition that we had to share them across all of our other platforms," said HGTV president Jane Latman in the announcement. Viewers can experience even more in Meaning of the Makeover, which delves into the stories of the ten families profiled in the revival's first season, and Extreme Makeover: Heart and Home, which takes "a deep dive into the custom elements" of the season's home renovations.