Who Really Pays The Mortgages On Extreme Makeover: Home Edition?

It was one of the most uplifting shows on TV. The original Extreme Makeover: Home Edition featured Ty Pennington, a team of designers, and volunteers who swept in to redesign and rebuild homes for families in need, including cancer victims and military families. But the original show, which according to USA Today was nicknamed "Tears for Sears" after the show's sponsor by those in the network, had a dark side. Some of the families, who were surprised with new homes after they let the team do their work, returned to dramatically upsized McMansions with much higher taxes, insurance rates, and utility bills. A number of families ended up losing their new and improved homes to foreclosure (via USA Today).

But today's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, which airs on HGTV, doesn't appear to show any McMansions after they "move the bus." The show's new host, Jesse Tyler Ferguson explained, "We're not giving people more than they need. You're not going to see crazy playrooms, slides going into pools." The show is "changing people's lives, but not people's lifestyles. We don't have the budgets to create these mansions."

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition doesn't pay taxes, utilities, or mortgages

Still, producers wanted to make sure the families they helped this time around weren't as vulnerable as they were the last time. An HGTV executive told Country Living, "In HGTV's reboot of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, we carefully consider each family's unique situation. We ensure that the home is sized to meet each family's needs. We emphasize the function as well as design of the home." 

While they don't pay the mortgage or any other future bills in full, the show does sometimes offers financial assistance, although exactly what that entails is not clear. "We identify ways to offset increased expenses from taxes and utility costs. For example, in several episodes we create homes that use the latest energy-saving technology. In some cases, our partners provide financial assistance to help the family with costs of homeownership or assist with another major financial need in their lives. This, in turn, frees up funds for the family to maintain the new or renovated home," the executive said.

The makeovers may still wow, but the show's producers appear to be very keen to avoid the problems that plagued the first one. HGTV senior executive Loren Ruch said, "The makeovers are dramatic, but that doesn't mean the homes need to be enormous... it was something we talked about at every twist and turn. It's a show where we're celebrating families rather than exploiting situations, and we want to make sure we help their lives long after 'Extreme Makeover."