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TV Preview: HGTV Fall Highlights

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For novice do it yourselfers like me, HGTV has been a godsend. Shows such as Curb Appeal and All American Handyman have always had good, practical advice as well as being quite entertaining. This fall season promises some intriguing new programs on the station, as well as the return of some old favorites. We decided to look at three early winners:

All American Handyman

Hosted by Molly Ivins, All American Handyman is now in its second season. It is an elimination show, which presents a number of challenges to the contestants each week. These are usually timed events, such as “The Gate Challenge” on the premiere episode. Basically, the contestants were given the materials and two hours of time to build the best gate they could. The three worst entries were to be sent home.

The quality of the projects varies wildly, and the time limit definitely plays a major role in what the participants are able to accomplish. The contestant pool was winnowed down from hundreds of applicants, to the twenty who made the final cut. So along with the various styles chosen for each project, we get quite of number of different personalities. Judges Mike Holmes and Scott McGillivray keep things interesting, and it looks like All American Handyman will do well again this season.

The High Low Project

Where All American Handyman is something of a game show, with incidental advice thrown in depending on the task at hand, The High Low Project is a real goldmine of suggestions. The show begins with interior designer Sabrina Soto asking homeowners to lay out the room they wish to redesign as if money were no object.

On the season premier, the homeowners wanted to transform their dining room. The first step for Sabrina was for them to describe exactly what they wanted. When all was said and done, the cost of refurbishing their dining room came to $32,400. Sabrina’s task was to get the room to look the way they wanted it to with a budget of $5000.

Not only was she able to do it, she managed to bring it in for only $3600. It was a pretty amazing display of bargain shopping. One example was with the console tables. The high-end original was $6,000, but Sabrina was able to find nearly identical looking tables for a mere $600.

She also gives out solid, money-saving tips throughout the show. One of these was that if you are shopping online, and see a “promo” code box, look online to find sellers who offer the discounts, then plug the code in for a 10-20% savings.

The High Low Project looks like a promising show for this season.

Dina’s Party

Former Real Housewives of New Jersey star Dina Manzo has a new series on HGTV this season called Dina’s Party. Dina is an interior designer and party planner, and brings these skills to bear in a variety of situations.

For the episode titled “Adult Prom,” Dina went all out. A married couple had contacted her about their desire to host a theme party. The theme was to be that of a dreaded rite of passage, the school prom. Only this time everybody was going to have fun.

Along with her associates, Dina managed to transform three rooms of the couple’s house to the point where they were unrecogizable. There was a faux gym, where the dancing would take place, a cheesy photo opportunity setup (complete with chintzy gold backdrop), and even a room made up to look like an outdoor café. Very impressive.

Dina Manzo knows her stuff, and is able to transform rooms with a seeming effortless grace. It may be her winning personality that really seals the deal for Dina’s Party though. I think viewers will come to know and like this side of her very much.

With these three programs, and other returning and new series – it looks as if HGTV is off to a great start for the 2011 – 2012 season.

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About Greg Barbrick

  • Doug

    I’m excited for all these shows; I wish that All American Handyman was more about teaching and that we got to see more of the personality of the people on the show. It’s seem like it was rushed.
    I still enjoy it though! I love Mike and Scott for sure. I’m rooting for Allison because she seems to have the most upbeat personality and has done well on all the challenges so far!