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Dear HGTV, I Have Concerns…

Dear HGTV, I Have Concerns

Dear 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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55 thoughts on “Dear HGTV, I Have Concerns…

  1. 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….

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. We have a house built prior to 1866. I would love to see a good show about plaster instead of another gut job!

  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!

  11. I am not an open concept person, I have an older home, I like the floor plan…. it is one of the reason’s we purchased our older home. I want to see a kitchen face lift, not a gut job. I do not have $50,000 for a kitchen remodel… As Chip and Jo grew, all of the homes looked the same. I will say, I love Hometown, they seem to be more down to earth. The homes typically keep the original floor plans and use recycled materials from the homes. This is more up my alley because I try to reuse materials in my own home. BUT I would love to see old homes brought back to life on a more realistic budget. I want to pay off my home, not continue to keep myself on the path of paying for the latest and greatest, timeless classic style is me and it will be my home too.

  12. I agree. I hate all those shows as they prioritize profits and short term trends, etc. Last on their priority list is keeping authentic materials. While they put on as if they are so imaginative, in reality they are the opposite, brainlessly defaulting to open floor plans and total replacement of windows and doors. It is so agrivating to hear them gush on the historic look of a house, then proceed to change everything about it.

  13. I too have stopped watching it for exactly those reasons. I live in a BEAUTIFUL Craftsman home with a wonderful dining room. I’m so afraid that when I am gone someone will knock down the wall where the built in buffet is to “open it up to make a gigantic kitchen”! All the charm will be gone. HOPEFULLY someone who appreciates this home will leave it as beautiful as it is!

  14. I agree, I love old homes, I currently live in a restored 1906 duplex, that was chopped into a six one bedroom units in 1945. I recently acquired a 1901 queen anne duplex, that was chopped into four one bedroom units. That I plan to restore, mostly DIY. Although I like to watch those total gut type shows, my heart is more restore preserve. It would be nice to see more of that on HGTV, but my go to place is YouTube as well, and I have also watched those channels you’ve mention above. That’s how I found The Craftsman blog. As someone mentioned, unfortunately it’s about the money.
    But to those of us who love to rstore and persevere we will keep up the good work one old window, one old house at a time.

  15. Fantastic! I couldn’t agree more. I am just beginning on what I know will be a long rehab of a 1798 property. Funny how I never think of that channel serving as any kind of resource for my project. Sad.

  16. You said it perfectly! I cringe when these flippers get ahold of an old craftsman home and start ripping down walls and knocking the plaster off. The only ones that I can tolerate are Nicole Curtis and Brett Waterman. They truly try to do as little damage to old homes as possible. Ben and Erin do ok. They often say that they like separate rooms. I always wonder why everyone wants a gigantic kitchen. Maybe they need somewhere to set down all of the fast food that they bring home.
    Also, I wish curb appeal would revamp. It was nice to watch.

    1. It’s supposed to be a home IMPROVEMENT channel.
      From Washington, DC near me, I get a lot of my building materials from people who are buying Craftsman or older homes on Capitol Hill or nearby. They’re tearing out molding, beautiful, beautiful, doors, etc. All in the name of modernization. I want to know why they bought the home in the first place?
      I also get things from people who are tearing down their row home (serious permits and engineering feats) or older home to build multi-unit homes. They can “get more” from the property. Breaks my heart.
      I also miss the yard shows. At least they were creative and gave people inspiration and ideas.

  17. Find myself agreeing with nearly all the comments, and see this pattern in all cable enthusiast shows. I’m also a car guy, and the same formula applies. I bet it applies to all areas of enthusiasm. Find someone charming who does a certain thing, and make a show. Then dial it into a ‘safe’ formula for easier location scouting and production planning. The people writing these shows take over quickly from the hosts, and they are all about formulas and protecting their jobs. They’re fighting over a small pool of advertisers and sponsors, and you’ll always see the sponsor’s product somewhere on set. PBS is a little purer I have found and encourage folks to give it a shot… I’m grateful the folks at This Old House have held up, I miss the hell out of New Yankee Workshop, and wish there was something more advanced than Ask This Old House which does at least feature Jimmy DiResta and other makers every few episodes. (also, I second the “where did the ‘G’ go?” comments)

  18. FYI ya’ll, This Old House has a channel on my free Samsung TV service and I am binging it until I get sick of it; should be sometime next year lol.

  19. YAAASSSSSS!! Love your communication style.
    Your desire to see craftsmen doing their thing resonates big time. The suggestion is logical too! Hello….dovetailing perfectly into HGTV’s riché (My word- rut+niche).

    Props on offering suggestions. I hope they heard you, your heard, your needs.

    Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  20. The only show I watch now is Restored on DIY network, Brett knows old homes and is passionate about restoring them back to their original state. Great show, I highly recommend.

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