Saturday, April 6, 2013

Disaster Reigns Supreme on HGTV

I've just figured out the favorite word for the programmers at HGTV.
It's "disaster".
Already up and running is Disaster:DYI with Brian Baeumler.
Now stay tuned for Disaster Decks --this one starring Paul Lafrance. It revs up Tuesday April 9 at 10 p.m.
Baeumler and Lafrance plus Scott McGillivray and of course Mike Holmes are the reigning titanic handymen of Canadian cable TV.
Since their shows are all made in and around Toronto there's a basic Canadian niceness you simply won't find on such American reality shows as Storage Wars or Pawn Stars.
These guys are all polite and clean and neat --they aim to please.
And they talk a mile a minute as they carefully explain very step of what they're trying to construct.
All of us have been watching these shows for years and years.
Which means the basic concept has to be diddled every once in a while or boredom will set in.
That's why McGillivray has climbed out of the basement to do whole houses on this season's Income Property.
Mike Holmes has already gone through several formats although each of his series is essentially the same as the one before.
It must be working because HGTV is one of Canada's most watched cable weblets. And these shows are also peddled to the American version (also called HGTV).
Lafrance has taken to TV very well.  He seems diminutive on Canada's Handyman Challenge next to burly Holmes --anybody would be.
In the first new show he takes a couple whose back deck is literally falling apart --wife  Anne steps right through the rotted floor boards.
Lafrance sports an easiness in front of the Camera --at one point he says that husband Leo reminds him of a character from Star Trek.
We watch as the designers map out a new deck and show where Leo went wrong along the way.
And then the trick is to get Leo to cut some of the planks, hammer in some of the nails --showing just how difficult it is for amateurs.
A lot of first hand knowledge gets passed around but I surely wouldn't like to try one of these constructions on my own.
The couple of the week seem genuinely at ease on camera --maybe they've watched so much reality TV it seems like second nature to them.
HGTV went out on a casting call as the weblet does for Live Here, Buy That, Leave It To Bryan, Sarah Richardson's new HGTV Canada series and so many others.
And I'm presuming there was some rehearsing before the shoot and an acknowledgement that certain topics had to be covered or the camera unit would be there all day recording the program.
Don't forget the typical reality half hour runs 21 minutes meaning a ton of info has to be presented without dawdling on anybody's part. These shows are all tightly edited.
One warning: the cost is never mentioned. I'm thinking this new deck cost a small fortune although on some of these shows couples who participate get some sort of discount.
Anyhow I liked Disaster Decks. Will Disaster Property Virgins be next? Or how about Disaster House Hunters?

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