April 29, 2007 12:03 AM by Joe Blackmon
The die is cast, the expert judging panel is back and 11 finalists have
been selected to compete during the second season of the original
interior design competition, HGTV Design Star. It’s anyone’s guess
which finalist will walk away with the coveted prize – his or her own
show on HGTV, but when the reality series hits the strip in Las Vegas,
each one will hope for a kiss from Lady Luck. Hosted by Clive Pearse,
who also hosts the network’s top-rated real estate series Designed To
Sell, HGTV Design Star will begin its nine-week run with the Design
Star Casting Special on Sunday, July 22 at 10 p.m. ET/PT and then air
weekly its regular time slot beginning Sunday, July 29 at 9 p.m. ET/PT
through September 16.
As with the series’ first hit season, fans can expect captivating challenges that stretch the creativity, ingenuity and skills of the designers, artists, stylists, architects and craftsmen who aspire to host a television show. The judging panel, which features designers Vern Yip and Cynthia Rowley as well as In Style executive editor Martha McCully, will critique the efforts of the finalists as they complete seven demanding design challenges. In the end, two finalists will remain for a spectacular showdown, but when America casts their final votes, only one finalist will get a shot at television stardom.
"Las Vegas is a perfect, visually-stunning backdrop to shoot this new crop of creative talent," said James Bolosh, vice president, event programming, HGTV. "Viewers will find more twists, more turns, fun surprises, fresh ideas and takeaways on the show this season. The finalists are driven and determined to make it to the finish line for a shot at their own show, but they will find that we have raised the stakes on the challenges. This competition isn’t for the faint of heart."
During the competition, several finalists will discover that the real-life demands of a weekly television show are a lot to navigate as they also try to showcase their design expertise and hosting skills. Others will thrive on the time and budget constraints, rigorous production schedules, ever-present camera crews and frequently-fretful homeowners.
The finalists already have overcome significant odds for the chance to participate in HGTV’s search for its next star. Network executives and show producers culled through more than 2,000 essays, portfolios and videos to select semi-finalists who appeared to have the skills and "it" factor to survive the competition.
In early spring, 30 semi-finalists presented their work, in-person, to McCully, Yip and David Bromstad, a special guest judge who was last year’s winner of the competition and currently hosts his own primetime show, Color Splash. The live presentations were documented for the Design Star Casting Special which will show how the 11 finalists managed to measure up to the exacting standards of the judges.
The HGTV Design Star judging panel is the talented trio of McCully, Rowley and Yip. Ms. McCully is In Style’s executive editor as well as a trend watcher and style maker whose knowledge, keen insights and interest in all things home-related is second only to her expertise in beauty and fashion.
Ms. Rowley is an award-winning international designer whose collection includes women’s wear, shoes, handbags, eyewear, belts, dishes, baby wear, leg wear, color cosmetics and a signature fragrance. She also is co-creator of the bestselling line of Swell books and home products at Target and is currently working on a new line of home products. Her latest book, Slim: A Fantasy Memoir, will be released in time for Mother’s Day.
Mr. Yip is an award-winning architectural and interior designer who gained national acclaim for his expertise in transforming homes and restaurants in his private design practice and on primetime cable and network television series. He also has his own line of top-quality products and found time to write a book, Designing Spaces. His new HGTV show, Deserving Design, will get a sneak peek airing after HGTV Design Star on Sunday, September 9 at 10 p.m., then air in its regular weekly time slot beginning Wednesday, September 12 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
Viewers will have their opportunity to vote on HGTV.com for their favorite HGTV Design Star finalist during the series’ seventh episode. In addition, they will be able to text-in their choice via cell phone.
"HGTV Design Star ended its first season as the highest-rated series in the network’s history, so we are sure that viewers will embrace this new opportunity to weigh in on who should win their own show on HGTV," said Bolosh. "Last year we discovered David Bromstad – that one special talent who had the potential to be a ‘break out’ star. He’s a star. We’re ready to do it again."