5 reasons why I’m trading HGTV’s Design Star for Mad Men

I just can’t do it anymore!

There was a time when Design Star was a legitimate reality show. The equation worked: likeable host + eager contestants + raw talent + design challenges = hours of entertaining television. Unfortunately, the equation has been rearranged, resulting in my tuning out.

So here it is, the top 5 reasons why I won’t watch Design Star anymore:

  1. No Host
  2. Poor Judging
  3. Contestants or Actors?!
  4. Lack of design challenges
  5. Promotes misconception of Interior Designers

Okay, keep reading for my explanation.

1. No Host
When the producers decided to give this season a makeover, they eliminated host Clive Pearse from the equation. I guess they hadn’t anticipated the big, awkward gap this left. The host, is so much more than just an extra body on set. He plays comrade- to contestants, informant- keeping viewers up to date, and spy for the judges, letting them know what really goes on behind the scenes.  Vern has been trying to fill this role, but it he comes up short… no pun intended.

Suggested Solution: Bring Clive back! A neutral, humorous, tension breaking host adds volumes to the appeal of the show.

2. Poor Judging
I have a couple of issues here…first with who the judges are and second with the  judging criteria.

We all know that there are 3 judges: Vern, Genevieve & Candice. All 3 have tried their hand at hosting their own show, however only 1 has seen real success. Divine Design has been a hit show for many years, in addition to Candice’s thriving design firm and her namesake collections which include everything from furniture to wallpaper.

To paint the whole picture, Vern has been on a couple of cancelled shows and while he may be have a successful design firm, his hosting talents have failed. Genevieve has also been on a couple of cancelled shows and frankly, she seems like she`ll attach herself to just about anything. Simply put, Candice is the only really successful designer of the bunch, so she is the only one who truly knows what it takes to be a good host with longevity.

My second qualm is with the judging style. In order to judge fairly, the grading criteria should be clear. Yet there is constant criteria disparity from week to week. At times judges praise contestants who inject their personal style into the space and at other times contestants are reprimanded for this.

Suggested Solution: The judges shouldn’t take themselves so seriously and they should stay true to their craft. Be yourself, and don’t take on a persona to boost ratings. Also, verbally outline the judging critieria to the audience. We too are judges, in our living rooms every Sunday night. Oh and one more thing judges….at eliminations, rather than whispering to each other in front of the contestants, try a closed door discussion. Just saying.

3. Contestants or Actors?!
In previous seasons, the contestants seemed to have more design related talent. However this season, I am not buying into these characters.  There are some strong personalities, some wallflowers, some amateurs and some, dare I say actors?!  Let`s face it HGTV wants ratings, not necessarily great talent.

Suggested Solution: Forget the money, show me the talent! Viewers want to see creative people with great ideas, not actors with scripts and assigned character profiles.

4. Challenges
So far there have been a number of collaborative challenges.  Now, if the goal of show is to find a host, shouldn`t there be more  independent challenges. After all, hosting is a solo mission. Doing everything as a group is neither beneficial for the judges or to the contestants. Give them individual tasks to see their true capabilities.  Hosting should be a critical part of every challenge not a 5 sec clip at judging for the bottom 2 contestants.

Suggested Solution: Show each hosting video after the challenge, or at least a clip of it. I want to see the contestants progress, grow and gain confidence in front of the camera.

5. Promotes Misconception of Interior Designers
The role of an Interior Designer is a commonly misunderstood one. If you watch HGTV you would have a hard time knowing, that everyday licensed Interior Designers are doing so much more than painting rooms and doing craft projects. To fully understand what an Interior Designer does click here.

In a nutshell, Design Star promotes the already widespread misconception of Interior Designers as self taught decorators.

Suggested Solution: It would be great if they changed the name of the show to something like, Great Host with Design Flair. That would better reflect the grand prize. Again…just saying.

Design Star peaked with memorable pink geese from last season.  The show produced some of HGTV`s most popular programs and personalities…like David Bromstad & my favorite, Antonio Ballatore.  But this season, the appeal has been lost and talent is laughable, so this Sunday at 10pm at I’ll be watching real creativity at work  with Don Draper on Mad Men.

*Images courtesy of HGTV

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One comment

  1. Maria

    I am frustrated with the show too 😦 Last season was sooo good! maybe that`s why this season seems so bad. Antonio`s pink geese were definitely the highlight of last season. When is his show coming back? Anyone know?

    Even though I`m not loving Design Star, I think I`ll continue to watch. Although I may check out Mad Men this Sunday. I heard it`s pretty good. Design Star needs to clean house, and I agree they need to get judges that know a thing or two about hosting.

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