“House Hunters” not so real

Several former participants in HGTV’s House Hunters say the story shown on TV isn’t exactly reality:

The premise of ‘House Hunters’ is that viewers follow a buyer as they anxiously decide between three different houses. Jensen says that, in fact, one house has already been purchased–the producers wouldn’t even finalize her as a subject until after the closing. “When I watch other episodes of the show now I can usually pick out the house they were getting based on hair-dos alone,” says Jensen. Houses are sometimes shot months apart. While the two rejected properties may be on the market, in Jensen’s case, “They were just our two friends’ houses who were nice enough to madly clean for days in preparation for the cameras!”

A former subject of the spin-off “House Hunters International” confirms that one house on the program has already been bought before filming begins. Ted Prosser, who did his real estate search in the Virgin Islands, said in an interview with a St. John blog: “The show is not really a reality show. You have to already own the house that gets picked at the end of the show. But the other houses in [my] show are actually the other houses we considered buying.”…

When confronted with Jensen’s allegations, a publicist for ‘House Hunters’ told Entertainment Weekly in a statement:

“We’ve learned that the pursuit of the perfect home involves big decisions that usually take place over a prolonged period of time – more time than we can capture in 30 minutes of television…. We’re making a television show, so we manage certain production and time constraints, while honoring the home buying process…. Showcasing three homes makes it easier for our audience to “play along” and guess which one the family will select. It’s part of the joy of the ‘House Hunters’ viewing experience. Through the lens of television, we can offer a uniquely satisfying and fun viewing experience that fulfills a universal need to occasionally step into someone else’s shoes.”

Is there any reality in reality TV? Seriously though, the “reality” shown on House Hunters would be cost prohibitive: how could a network afford (or justify) following a couple around as they see sometimes dozens of houses. I’m also a little surprised this information hasn’t come up before -participants must sign quite a contract.

I’ve noted before the popularity of HGTV shows. While the story of the couple on some of these shows is important, I wonder how much it really matters. Don’t people really want to see the different houses and options? You can’t have completely boring people on the show who like everything but at the same time, the real focus of these shows is the houses.

2 thoughts on ““House Hunters” not so real

  1. Pingback: Argument: fake “House Hunters” does a disservice to the realities of American homeownership | Legally Sociable

  2. Pingback: Watching TV to see people use Zillow | Legally Sociable

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