‘Trading Spaces’ Doubles Down in Return

trading-spaces-You may be seeing double in the return of “Trading Spaces” (TLC, 8 p.m.), the granddaddy of the home improvement shows, returning tonight a decade after it went off the air.

Not only has the cast roughly doubled to 16 (while still including old favorites like Paige Davis, Ty Pennington, Vern Yip and  Frank Bielec), but the premiere takes up two hours (the first devoted to catching up since it’s gone) And the standard budget to create the remodeling has been doubled as well.

“The show originally was set at $1,000 budget per room,” the ever-perky Davis told reporters at the TV Critics Association winter press tour. “But with inflation, we’ve accounted for that and now have it at $2,000 per room. That budget was set 20 years ago, so it’s important that it was raised.

“But I think it still represents a manageable and tangible budget for people who are looking to redo rooms in their home. I think one of the best things about ‘Trading Spaces’ long ago was that it represented attainable, relatable designers and made interior design accessible to middle America as opposed to just an upper echelon of society,” Davis said.

“I think we’ve kept it at a place that people can wrap their heads around, because even today, ten years since we’ve been off the air, we want people to know that these are creative ideas that they can do in her own home today.”

“And it’s a great buffer to fix whatever we do.,” Pennington piped in.

“And initially when we first started the show, we were dumpster divers,” said Bielec. “I mean, we almost got arrested taking down people’s fences and stuff like that. I mean, that was a danger. And now I think the $2,000 will at least get us a good lawyer if we need one.”

The show has always been about being resourceful and doing the most creatively for the money, by using what’s on hand, says Davis, who has spent her years away from the show starring in Broadway and touring musical productions.

TLC chief Nancy Daniels said that though it’s come up before, now was the right time to bring back ‘Trading Spaces.’ “There was a big swell of nostalgia hitting the media. And when we looked back at what was a cornerstone show for TLC,” she said, “I would get asked about, for years, it was always ‘Trading Spaces.’”

Besides, Yip added, “We live in a completely different time than when ‘Trading Spaces’ first launched. People have so much more at their fingertips. They’re, much more educated about design than when we started, because everybody’s on Pinterest.

“Everybody has become familiar with design terms because of the proliferation of design shows and shelter publications. But we also now thankfully, because of technology and because of where we are in the design world today, we have so many additional resources.”

That, he said, has its advantages and disadvantages. “Because if you’re the average homeowner and you’re not necessarily a designer, it can become incredibly overwhelming to figure out how do I best use my money to make the most of it, to not only get something that’s aesthetically reflective of me but also functional and that’s going to endure and last and doesn’t just look good on TV but is actually built well. So I do think it’s part of our job to really show people how to embrace everything that’s at their fingertips right now.”

There was controversy tied to the show with the return of Carter Oosterhouse to the show after accusations of sexual misconduct. He was not at the TCA panel.

“He was unavailable to attend today,” Daniels said. “We did look into the allegations. We also looked into everything that we did throughout our production on this realm of ‘Trading Spaces’ and we take it all very seriously. At the end of the day, we feel very comfortable continuing with Carter in the show.”

As one of the newcomers, Brett Tutor said, “it’s like being adopted into a highly dysfunctional family.”

 

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