Genevieve Gorder Talks About 'HGTV Design Star' Season 5
by Kelly Woo, posted Jun 11th 2010 9:00AM
Filed under: TV PreviewsCelebrity Interviews
HGTV's breakout hit reality series, 'Design Star,' is getting back into an Empire state of mind.
The fifth season of the show returns to its original location, New York. But that's not the only change in store, according to judge Genevieve Gorder, who spoke to TV Squad by phone yesterday.
Gorder and fellow judges Vern Yip and Candice Olsen take on hosting duties from Clive Pearse. They get more involved in creating the challenges, following the contestants' work from start to finish and mentoring them throughout the entire design process.
A fabulous season is in store for viewers, one that was "a lot more fun," Gorder said.
Check out what else she had to say about 'HGTV Design Star.'
What can viewers expect from the new season?
It's just a completely new package. We're working with one of the best productions houses in the business that do this kind of television with Mark Burnett. Really all of the technical aspects of a show like this -- which are many -- that normally take so much time and so much effort were just so smoothly accomplished that the creative end of this show we heavily focused on because we could. They'll see a show with a lot more content.
I think the design has elevated to a degree far beyond what we've every accomplished on 'Design Star' previously. The cast is I think the most talented that we've ever had. Having it in New York, which is the design capitol of the country, makes so much sense and kind of ups the ante and the competition to a standard it needed to be at for a long time.
And the challenges, now that the technicalities of the show are so smoothed over and perfected, the challenges have been so heavily focused on. You're going to see things that you've never seen before on 'Design Star' and that are so unexpected and I was absolutely salivating over. I wish that I could've been in the challenges because they look like so much fun. It's like art school on crack. [Laughs]
I'm sure you can't get into the specifics of the challenges, but what can you tell us?
We have everything involved from the FDNY and explosions to celebrities that you would never think would be on cable. [Laughs] There were very dangerous moments that involve the EMT and blood, there was love. I think the judges this year -- I'm speaking as a third person -- we had just so much fun because: A) We all knew each other a lot better. I've known Vern for forever, but Candice and I just met last year. B) We were so much more involved because not only were we judging, we were giving the challenges and coaching as well. The judges are throughout the show instead of just the end, which I think provides for a more elevated design conversation throughout the whole hour. It's been really fun. It's so rare that we get to talk to other designers for that long of a period on television. We're usually talking to homeowners. The conversation levels and the design chat is again, incomparable to any other show on the network.
The judges seem very heavily involved in all steps, like you said. What was that like?
It's more like -- you know you have Tim Gunn [on 'Project Runway'] right there in the middle who's helping you out, but not in such an intimate way because we are judging them too -- the challenges are also prescribed by us. We came up with all the challenges, which again I think makes it a lot more legitimate and at the end we are really deciding who is going to be the next 'Design Star.' You see the judges throughout the entire hour and I think, like I said prior, it provides just a conversation that's a lot more elevated within the design realm.
HGTV viewers are not 101, they've been watching for years. They want to learn more, to listen to a higher conversation about what they love so much. This is a perfect platform for them to get that nitty gritty design info that you don't get on all the design shows.
Do you feel like you've gotten more insight into what the contestants are going through?
Yeah, I think the hardest part for me being a caretaker and working a lot from the emotional side of design in general is that I just want to take care of all of them. [Laughs] We do have kind of a wall, a barrier between us. We have to because we're judging them too. But yes, I'm a lot more emotionally involved. It was a lot clearer to me from an earlier point of who the front-runners were because I knew them better. You can't hide anything from us when we're there looking at your work in person, which I think provides for a lot clearer view of who should win this competition in the end.
We become a family of sorts. It's such a crazy schedule, it's done so quickly. There's part of me that wants to feel bad for every contestant because it's so grueling, but at the same time, they're winning a prize that all of us have worked years to attain and they're being given it over the course of six weeks on a silver platter ... It could perhaps be a career that lasts for many, many years if they play their cards right. It is a completely different experience for all of us as judges and I have to say I had a lot more fun. I'm not just checking in at the end and peeking at something that I didn't know the real story of. I'm involved throughout. I think Clive [Pearse] was a great host, but I think having the designers give the challenges and create the challenges makes a lot more sense.
This is the first season since season 1 where you're back in New York. How big of a role does New York play into this season?
New York has a huge role in every show. I think if you've watched 'Project Runway' in the past, you can see the difference it makes when a design competition is taken out of the design capitol. They came right back the following season. It's because it's legitimate. This is the design capital of the country. This is where all the best designers are and where they train. All the shopping the city provides in such a condensed fashion that is chaotic, it's harried and real is only applicable to New York. It's a big character in the show and it adds a background that you can't really accomplish anywhere else. I'd rather see someone hustling down the street and all the beauty and history and drama that that entails on that shopping trip or hunt, whatever they're doing as opposed to watching someone talking to me blankly in a car on some vast highway in the middle of wherever. [Laughs]