TLC's top-rated 'Trading Spaces' to get its own format redo
By GAIL SHISTER
Knight Ridder Tribune News
Trading Spaces will undergo an extreme makeover this fall.
Second-quarter ratings for TLC's most popular show — hosted by cutie Paige Davis and produced by Banyan Productions — have plunged 50 percent from the same period a year ago.
Because of that, Spaces' format will "evolve" when Season 5 launches in October, says Roger Marmet, TLC's executive vice president and general manager.
"We're loosening the very tight format. We want to make the viewing experience less predictable and more spontaneous. Several of the elements will be new and different to the audience."
No details (for competition reasons), but Marmet says he'll incorporate more behind-the-scenes peeks into the design process.
The basic Spaces structure "that people know and are passionate about" will not change: Two sets of neighbors design a room in each other's house over two days, using a designer, a carpenter, and a $1,000 budget.
On-air talent stays put, too.
"We're keeping the heart of the format. Spaces is still our highest-rated show. We're not looking to throw out the baby with the bath water."
Spaces, which airs at 8 p.m. Saturdays, this season is averaging more than 12 million viewers per week, counting more than 10 airings. Sixty original episodes run until September.
Is Spaces overexposed?
"We've given the audience what they were looking for — more opportunities to see the show," Marmet says. "It's still very strong. We're not looking to cut back."
As usual with television, the success of Spaces has spawned a host of imitators. On TLC, there's Trading Spaces: Family, hosted by Joe Farrell, as well as Clean Sweep and While You Were Out. Broadcast-wise, there's ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, among others.