Dear HGTV, I Have Concerns…

By Scott Sidler • February 10, 2020

Dear HGTV, I Have ConcernsDear HGTV,

I have concerns. I love you. No really, I think you’re great and I wouldn’t change anything about the years we’ve spent together. You’ve been a faithful companion and we’ve shared more than a few laughs and tears together, but I’m worried you’re drifting away from me. Or maybe it’s me that’s drifting.

There will always be a place in my heart for the gut remodels that we’ve shared, but I feel that you’re missing the deeper point of it all and you’ve started down a path that is difficult for me to follow. I understand there is a formula for what works on TV, but just like in any relationship that formula has to be constantly reinvented as people change and grow, and that’s where I am most concerned.

The more time we spend together lately I notice that ever since our favorite Waco couple, Chip and Joanna, with whom we used to double date all the time, came on the scene you have been trapped in what I can only describe as a rut. Every show has become a search for the next remodeling couple we can fall in love with. Whether they are married, brothers, or even just dating kinda heavy you have lost your way in this search.

Not every show needs to be a couple and not every show needs to be about a gut remodel. Don’t get me wrong, it is very satisfying to see a whole house or room transformed in less than 30 mins. for under $5,000, but that’s not all I want.

You know me, and you know ribeyes are my favorite, right? But that’s not to say that I would want to eat a ribeye for every meal. It just too much of the same even if it is the best steak in the world. Sometimes a simple bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios in the morning is all I need. I’m not being low-brow I just need some variety to mix it up from time to time.

John Malecki
John Malecki making a monster live edge table for Black Rifle Coffee

And speaking of changing it up I know you’ve seen the kind of work my friends like Jimmy Diresta or John Malecki are doing. Why can’t we spend a little time with them and the other creative craftsmen out there doing new cool things that are doable for me. I’m not a house flipper so full gut remodels don’t happen on a weekly basis at my house, but I would love to spend some time with you to learn how Malecki made a new table for his house that would fit perfectly in my restored living room. Those kind of projects fall under Home & Garden right?

There is just so much happening out there in the maker scene right now, and I’ve been hesitant to say anything but I’ve started seeing someone new. Her name is YouTube and she has been really great to me! I’m not saying this to hurt your feelings, far from that, but I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you why this is happening to us. I need variety. I need creativity. I need something other than a ribeye, and, lately, you haven’t been meeting my needs.

Don’t take this the wrong way. We’re not breaking up, but we may need some counseling if we can’t come to an understanding that the same things that I may have loved 10 years ago are not necessarily the same things I love today. I’ve grown and changed and I’m hopeful you can grow with me.

So what do you think HGTV? Are you open to growing with me? Can we still make this work? Do you hear my heart and what I’m trying to say? I hope so. We’ve been together for so long I don’t want to loose what we have, I just want to know you’re open to dropping the formula and really hearing me.

With Love,


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54 thoughts on “Dear HGTV, I Have Concerns…”

  1. I absolutely agree, Scot. I live in a double brick house, built in Canada in 1880. I’m the primary caretaker of my 92-year-old mother. We live on extremely limited, fixed incomes, mine disability. In the last 2 decades the house has been falling apart. Bricks and mortar disintegrating, water coming through that damaging the plaster, attached shed rotting and sinking, etc, etc, etc. After several intense ill-health years things have evened out a bit and I’m trying to tackle some of the stuff a little bit at a time as I learn and am able. HGTV has become too much incredible spending and waste of resources, out of reach for most of us, often horrifically damaging to the environment and sadly wasteful. What we really need to learn is how to make the most of what we have and share what we don’t need with others so they can do the same; a community of shared knowledge and resources.

  2. What gets me is the plethora of “House Hunters” shows they’ve been plaguing us with in recent years. I thought HGTV was supposed to focus more on home and garden building and maintenance and not the real estate market. While I enjoy an occasional glimpse at what “the market” is doing I don’t want it rammed down my throat for what seams to be 12-16 hours a programming day.

    I also agree with the others in that there should be more of the older home repair tips and instruction and less of the technological upgrades and whole house gut-outs. For one, I don’t want my coffee maker or refrigerator telling me to grab my jacket because it’s only 40 degrees outside (lol), and two – I’m not planning to do a top-to bottom reno of ANYTHING, much less my home. I bought the house I wanted and made the necessary fixes over time, yet it would have been nice to know a little bit more about what I was getting myself in to when a contractor starts spouting off options and specs about every repair they make. I apologize for the rant, but some contractors need to either go back to trade school and learn their trade “properly” or just learn how to talk a bit more plainly to some of their clients.
    Those are the main reasons I like Norm Abrams and Mike Holmes – neither one will skimp on the job and they both will talk to you in terms you will understand and explain why a certain method or upgrade is being done or should be done. QUALITY not fat bank accounts….

  3. Scott has hit the nail on the head (pun intended). I am paying extra on my cable bill just so my wife can watch HGTV; however, we are tired of watching mostly gut remodels, which quite frankly can be done by most any tract home builder. Bring back the true craftsmen so they can impart their skills to us newbies.

  4. Gave up on HGTV, This Old House, and all of the others a while ago. Found that the information I need to restore our 1879 house wasn’t being provided by them. How repairs were made 100 years ago – before drywall, zip screws, latex paint and ‘smart’ anything – is the info I’m looking for. Websites like this one have been my main resources. We make $50k a year and live in our house while restoring it. That’s our reality!

  5. Wow! You captured exactly how I feel! I remember the early HGTV days when I learned a lot about home renovation and maintenance. It was great. I would love to see projects that fit my 102-year-old home without demolishing all the character I have spent so much time and effort trying to restore.

    I hope you get a positive response. As much as I enjoy seeing the total guts, I would like to see projects I can attempt more. Thanks for taking on this topic!

  6. Thank you for trying to let them know that tearing down walls isn’t educational. In fact promotes the mindlessness of a teenager who can’t stop and think before doing something destructive! I actually hate this show!

  7. Your points are all well-taken, Scott. Gut jobs are entertaining. More useful to me would be learning the best ways to preserve my craftsman home authentically. I’d be happy to follow you on YouTube.

  8. You hit that nail on the proverbial head, Scott! Wow, I didn’t even realize what was wrong with my dissatisfaction with the channel until you verbalized it. I so miss, Design on a Dime, This Old House and so many other shows that were so helpful and entertaining. Would so love to see something other than trying to recreate Chip and Joanna. You can’t recreate them. Love your Blog! Thank you for what you do! Keep it up!

  9. Well stated, Scott. As a home handyman, I still fondly recall the earlier days of TV’s home renovation shows, where the presenters described and demonstrated various crafts and techniques on-screen. This left the viewers feeling that they had learned something useful, as well as being entertained.
    Bob Vila and Norm Abram got it right

  10. I’m with you 100%. I want a program that shows people how to renovate their older homes. My house was built in 1929 & needs some TLC but I don’t want to hire some of these newer builders. No one knows how to fix the good stuff, The real wood & plaster. Thanks for your Blog. Love it!

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