Archive for Saturday, July 16, 2011

HGTV continues image makeover

July 16, 2011

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Reality television used to be about teaching us how do stuff like renovating bathrooms or sanding drywall. Now it’s mostly about watching other people spend money and inviting us to hate, envy or pity reality stars like the Kardashians, “Real Housewives” or the “Jersey Shore” clique of tanning bed casualties.

“Home by Novogratz” (9 p.m., HGTV) is supposed to inspire envy, but I think a little more hate and pity are in order. Formerly known for their Bravo series “9 by Design,” Cortney and Bob Novogratz present themselves as chic Manhattan designers who happen to have seven children. She seems to do most of the work, or at least most of the talking, while he walks around trying to look cool with a hip haircut and a funky hat more appropriate for someone 20 years his junior. Shabby chic is their “brand,” and therefore everything about them has to keep with the program. Even the kids. In one scene, one of their sons is seen doing his math homework (and getting it wrong) while sporting an expensive haircut and wearing an oversized leather motorcycle jacket. He seems to be about 7. To be fair, the emphasis here is on design and renovation, and “Novogratz” keeps the hideous Gosselin-like exploitation of the kids to a minimum.

In the first episode we’re shown how to renovate a rundown beachside home and make it appropriately trendy for a couple of surfing sisters. Or rather how to renovate a place when you have $40,000 of other people’s money to spend and a workforce of non-complaining immigrants who don’t mind going without sleep to finish your job.

I’m not certain (and don’t care) if the Novogratzes think their new TV home is a step down from Bravo, but with shows like “Design Star” and “Selling New York,” HGTV has been obviously trying to rebrand itself in Bravo’s image. So this is a logical next step.

Tonight’s other highlights

• A potential bride-to-be contends with her boyfriend’s overly competitive family in “Keeping Up With the Randalls” (8 p.m., Hallmark).

• Diane Sawyer interviews Jaycee Dugard on “Primetime” (8 p.m., ABC).

• Yellowstone may not be safe from a “Super Eruption” (8 p.m., Syfy).

• Scheduled on “48 Hours Mystery” (9 p.m., CBS): A wealthy couple is targeted.

• Tom Hanks, Nicole Scherzinger and Simon Pegg appear on “The Graham Norton Show” (9 p.m., BBC America).

• Strange surgeries unfold on “Bizarre ER” (9 p.m., Discovery Fit and Health).

Saturday series

An agent in peril on “CHAOS” (7 p.m., CBS) ... On back-to-back episodes of “Cops” (Fox): assault (7 p.m.), battery (7:30 p.m.) ... “101 Ways to Leave a Game Show” (7 p.m., ABC).

Malcolm McDowell guest-stars on “The Mentalist” (8 p.m., CBS) ... A very bad vintage on “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” (8 p.m., NBC) ... Gruesome footage captures scenes of survival on “The Indestructibles” (8 p.m., Fox) ... A victim’s contacts become suspects on “Law & Order: SVU” (9 p.m., NBC).

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