They want granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. They want a finished basement and an en suite bathroom. They want (original) hardwood flooring and His-and-Hers vanities. They want it for less than fair market value and in their current neighborhood. They want curb appeal, and they don’t want the paint that is currently on the walls. (They know that paint is cheap and easy to fix, but it’s hard for them to see past it.) They are unaware of mold and problems with wiring and the fact that the joists holding up the second floor need to be sistered so that the bathtub doesn’t end up in the kitchen. Above all, they want an open concept. For entertaining!
If this list seems familiar to you, if you know, very instinctively, what it is they want, it’s likely you are one of the millions of people who watch Home and Garden Television (HGTV) every day. You’ve sat down in the middle of a Flip or Flop episode and continued on to watch four or five more. You’ve been caught in a seemingly endless overnight loop of Beach Front Bargain Hunt. You’ve seen house hunts followed by renovation estimates followed by lengthy kitchen re-dos followed by brief tags showing the happy family in their new home followed immediately by more house hunts, more renovations. According to HGTV, viewers in their target demographic watch the network for an average of two hours and 14 minutes per sitting. But why? What is it about HGTV that makes it so compulsively watchable? While TNT can run all the Law and Order marathons it wants, Home and Garden Television is the new home of procedural TV.*