Housing Is Down; Housing Shows Aren’t

The housing decline has wreaked havoc on the U.S. economy, global credit markets, personal wealth–but it’s left television untouched, according to a recent Associated Press article.

A&E’s new season of "Flip This House" is gearing up for a new season, and TLC has six new home-related shows (!) premiering this year.

And just look at HGTV–the network had its highest-ever evening ratings in January, undoubtedly due in part to its home-intensive line-up, which includes shows like "House Hunters," "My First Place" and "Designed to Sell."

HGTV president Jim Samples says the slump actually has helped ratings.

"What’s
driving interest right now is that people are worried about it —
`what’s the value of my home? How can I increase interest in my home?’"
Samples told AP. "And then there’s the `life goes on’
factor. People are still changing jobs, families are still getting
bigger. If anything, they tend to nest in this environment."

That’s questionable–at least in some parts of the country–but it’s interesting to note that Americans are still vastly interested in at least learning about home improvements, buying and selling. Given the low recent consumer confidence ratings, that could be taken as a sign of hope for the industry.

I really don’t think we watch A&E’s home remodeling and selling shows for the same reasons we watch its "Intervention" or "Millionaire Matchmaker" shows–which, let’s face it, maybe contains a bit of "I’m glad I’m in a better place/I can’t believe this situation" Schendenfreude. (Because really, does anyone feel like their housing investments are 100 percent safe in this market?) 

Also interesting: The continued success of housing shows may be tied this year to some recent changes to make them more "decline-friendly." Both A&E and HGTV said in the article that they’re altering their shows to include more renovators to focus on home improvements. Flipping also isn’t shown as an easy market, according to AP.

Of course, there is still a serious lack of TV programs that focus on multi-family housing (ahem, networks)–but we’ll still be watching to see HGTV and A&E shows sport a new focus this year. Will you?