A parent is facing death in the near future. It is dangerous for a sick child to live in his current home because the germs might worsen his disease. Those two, and many other situations that may cause people to need a new home, and quick, are the kind dealt with every episode on ABC’s popular television show, Extreme Home Makeover: Home Edition. How do those responsible for the show choose who should receive a new house, and what could you do to get ABC’s attention, if you knew someone who really needed a new home built?
“We get about a thousand applications a week,” show producer Tom Forman said on the website, www.abc.go.com. “We’re looking for people who can really benefit from what we do. It’s just a home renovation. To the extent we can, we look for people who deserve it. It’s tough to judge.”
There is no doubt the people involved with the show do build new houses, in only seven days for very deserving people: a bachelor turned father to his niece and nephew after the death of his sister; a sick child who must have a house that is as germ free as possible; deaf parents who have trouble keeping track of a son who likes to let himself out of the house at night; a family whose two-year-old had died from choking and who then faced living with their children in a home that contained raw sewage.
If you’ve never seen the show, a design team of ten men and women, featuring host Ty Pennington, travel the country to visit people whose houses have been chosen to be demolished and rebuilt. The makers of the show have been told of the special needs of each family, and the design team, and other helpers, including carpenters, electricians, and others rebuild the house in seven days, to meet each special need. Sears donates furniture and appliances for the houses. While the houses are being built, the families are on a one week vacation, paid for by the show. They are also contacted while on the vacation and sometimes see their old houses demolished by video clip. Except during longer special episodes, one house a week is rebuilt on each episode.
If you want to nominate your family, or another family, the first step is to go to the official website, http://abc.go.com/primetime/xtremehome/casting.html, print the 18-page application, and complete it. It could be several months before you are contacted, if your house is chosen. You will be asked your names, about your family, and your family income. You will be asked if anyone in your family has ever been on television and if anyone in your family has been involved in charitable activity. You will be asked about your cars, debt other than your mortgage, and military experience.
If you are nominating another family than your own, you will be asked your relationship to the family in question. You will be asked about your family situation and why you need a makeover. You will also need to shoot a video of the house in question.
You will be asked about your neighborhood. You will be given a list of eligibility requirements, contents, and releases. You will agree to the rebuilding of your home being shown on television.
Judging by others who have been on the show, you might have a better chance of your house being chosen, if your need is great, either because of the illness of someone in your family, or a house in poor condition, such as the one that had raw sewage. Many of the people whose houses have been chosen have also had family members who have gone to great lengths to make sacrifices to provide for their family or needy children or others in the community. Regardless what your situation is, or that of another family you know of, if you think the situation might meet the show’s qualifications, apply.