Does HGTV hate the Rust Belt?

When I work on the computer at home, I’ll have the TV on as background noise. Often I’ll stop to watch some house hunting, house flipping or house remodeling show on HGTV. I have never seen an episode of any HGTV show in the Rust Belt. No house flipping in Pittsburgh, no first-time homebuyers looking at three houses in Buffalo, nobody installing the usual granite countertops in their house in Cleveland. They’ll film in smaller metros elsewhere – right now, I’m watching a first time homebuyer show taking place in Nashville – but never the industrial Northeast or Midwest.

Does HGTV really have a bias against the Rust Belt? Do they assume that people in Rochester or the Detroit area all have 1950s kitchens and plastic-covered Rococo couches, and that unlike homebuyers elsewhere, won’t turn up their noses at a kitchen that doesn’t have just the right color of granite countertops or right brand of stainless steel appliances?

I don’t know if Chicago is considered part of the “Rust Belt” but it seems a lot of their shows are done there.

I get the impression that Texas, especially Austin, is very popular, too.

I have no idea what an HGTV is, but I would assume that they probably have a higher viewership in the areas that are shown on the show. So the question would be why the rust belt doesn’t watch HGTV.

I believe the show is produced in Knoxville. Taping the show in Nashville is probably a budget and paperwork matter. Besides, it’s so pretty here and people don’t talk funny like they do in New York and Pennsylvania.

I’m sure they would love to come to Austin though. That’s a happening place! And they could drop in on Willie.

Home and Garden TV.

IMHO, their shows are just glorified advertisements. So that implies that they frame them in cities where a lot of floor design, house flipping or pool installation (to name some of the things highlighted on HGTV) is done. Most of the rust belt has the appearance of being declining cities where people aren’t going to install sun rooms and do other acts of home-improvement.

Sunlight is also good - Austin has plenty of sunny days, so that’s why it’s featured. When they were doing house-flipping shows a few years back, the most seen cities were San Antonio (#1 with a bullet, starring Armando Montenegra (or something like that)), Atlanta, Dallas… and one episode set in Connecticut, involving two Yalies who got into the house-flipping business. I think they did OK on their house, but it wasn’t easy and it didn’t do as well as they had hoped.

Who in his right mind would want to move to the Rust Belt? :wink:

Seriously though, a big part of it is likely where people are buying houses, giving them many more opportunities to make shows about people buying houses, maybe even in the area where their viewers are buying houses. And for the selling/flipping shows, if it doesn’t sell (or sell well), the whole show if off. If I recall correctly, Nashville is, or is one of the, fastest growing city in the country, while the population of the Rust Belt is largely decreasing.

Vox Imperatoris

Michigan resident here. Sometimes I get the feeling that in a couple of years, every single California resident will have appeared on an HGTV show, a TLC housing show or an episode of Clean House. Only then will they move into the flyover states.

A lot of it is production costs – it’s cheaper for them to stay in CA, say, or in one of their satellite locations like Chicago. Very, very, rarely do they come up to New England, although there was a “House Hunters” episode filmed on the Cape, I think, a couple of years ago.

The other aspect, I think, is square footage. It’s easier to move camera and equipment around in a sprawling McMansion than it is in a postage-stamp pre-WWII house.

I did see one of those house shows recently that featured the suburbs of Detroit. (I think it was HGTV – it’s the show where they show a family three houses, and then, at the end, they pick one to buy). In this particular episode, their son (who lived with them), was also a real estate agent and was the agent showing them the houses.

But, yeah, I can’t think of episodes featuring Buffalo or Cleveland off the top of my head, though I don’t watch these programs often.

I thought about that, too, as a reason but I’ve seen plenty of shows where they are re-doing a “galley” kitchen which is much smaller than the kitchen in my 100sqft house. Just last night I saw Vern Yip’s show and they did a kitchen and dining room makeover where the two rooms were considerably smaller than mine.

I also see yards on Curb Appeal that are much much smaller than mine. But, on the flipside, the architecture is much much more interesting than mine.

FWIW the channel DID carry a show that was created and filmed in the Cleveland area - Room By Room with Matt & Shari. Apparently, it was the first show broadcast on HGTV when it went live in 1994. They’re still involved with HGTV but their style has certainly not come along with the direction HGTV is going and their show isn’t a regular part of the lineup anymore.

My theory is different. If you watch shows like Design on a Dime and other budget makeover ones, they are able to go to all sorts of stores where they can get things at good prices. New England doesn’t have stores like that, so if they actually had to buy things in the area of the makeover, the makeovers would be far less impressive considering the costs of the materials.

elfkin, that’s a good theory. The TV ad for Lumber Liquidators has a map of the US showing their store locations. They have nothing in the Plains states – SD, ND, Wyoming, etc. The Plains states are neglected on those home shows too.

I saw a House Hunters episode in Philadelphia. I think the reason they don’t do more is because the houses there are too vertical. Apparently the only housing that exists there are three stories on 25’x20’ footprints. I kept feeling sorry for the crew having to try to get good angles in all that cramped space and hauling all that equpment up all those very narrow stairs.

wiggie, I saw one in Baltimore like that. It was interesting. Narrow row houses are quite foreign to this Midwesterner. No yard, doors opening right onto the sidewalk or the street without even a stoop. I don’t know if I’d like that or not. The buyers raved about a view, which was just rooftops.

Heh, I never thought of that.

On second thought, I think you’ve got something there.

I always thought one of these shows, just for a lark, ought to venture out into rural America. I’ve been watching them for years and I’ve never seen one that wasn’t done in at least a medium-sized city or a close suburb of one.

Sure, they’d be hours away from the nearest Container Store, but that’s part of the challenge.

Yep. Wouldn’t you love to see the interiors of some of those Victorians? The Prairie Four-Squares are interesting too. I haven’t been inside many, but they’re all different.

You actually recall incorrectly. While the cities in the Rust Belt are facing decreasing populations, the Rust Belt area (including suburbs and little towns between the cities) has stayed steady and in some places is rising.

I’ve often felt the same thing…surely soon they will run out of Californians to feature, right? I mean, it seems like everyone there should know somebody who has been featured in some sort of reality show…

I have never seen any of these shows set in Chicago or its nearby communities. :confused:
I consider these shows to be house porn, but I do watch them when I channel surf. I, too, am tired of the CA, FL, TX set of homes. I’d love to see an old Midwestern farmhouse or a Cape Cod in RI somewhere etc. Hell, I’ll take a ranch on a slab–it’d make the show more realistic.