One reader of my recent piece on HGTV's role in the housing bubble suggested that HGTV is out of touch with the realities of the new housing market, and continues to run shows like My House is Worth What? that focus on rapidly appreciating real estate prices and real estate as an "investment" that builds tens of thousands of dollars in equity over just a couple years.

As a longtime fan of HGTV, I agree with this assessment. It might just be time for HGTV to revamp its lineup and offer some shows that reflect that state of the housing market now. I'm serious about three of these and facetious about one, and will leave you to decipher which is which:
  • Sold Short! -- This weekly half-hour show would profile a real estate short-sale from both sides -- the opportunistic home buyer looking to score a good deal in a tough market and the seller looking to bail out a bad investment with his sanity, dignity, and credit score in tact. The show would give buyers and sellers at home an idea of what they can expect when they get involved with the short-sale process. Interviews with bank employees and real estate
  • Fizzbo -- The titles is based on the popular pronunciation of the acronym FSBO, or For-Sale By Owner. This show would follow the trials and tribulations of sellers to save on the expense of a real estate agent by selling their homes on their own. With so many home owners having watched their equity decline over the past couple years, this option seems poised to gain popularity with penny-pinchers. This show would show what happens when it works and when it doesn't, and give home owners ideas about whether it's right for them.
  • Buy it, Lose it, Loot it -- With foreclosures at record levels, many home owners are pissed off and broke when their homes go into foreclosure. In many cases this leads to vandalism and looting in the days before they move. HGTV's team of unemployed contractors would descend on homeowners facing eviction at the eleventh hour and teach them how to strip homes of valuable metals, dump paint onto carpets.
  • Downsizing -- This series would follow families as they look to sell their large single-family homes to move into much smaller apartments or condos because of job losses and pay cuts. It would follow the emotional turmoil and the letdown of moving into less glamorous digs but at the end families would learn that they are not defined by their stainless steel appliances and crown molding, and that sharing rooms isn't as bad as HGTV had taught us.
Would these be entertaining? I think they could be: After all, there's nothing innately entertaining about watching people clean their closets, but HGTV has actually made hit shows out of that in the past.

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