Extreme home makeover foreclosure

What’s Going on With Extreme Makeover Houses?

If You Were a Fan of This Beloved Home Improvement TV Show…

If you were a home-renovation-obsessed child of the ‘90s, chances are you begged your parents to tune in to ABC on Sundays so you could watch the latest episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. And like many other fans, you praised the day that a home renovation was set to take place near your home, and maybe even joined hundreds of other eager bystanders, hoping to catch a glimpse of Ty or Tracy in action.

Even if you weren’t a Trading Spaces-inspired millennial, you’ve probably watched an episode or two of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. During the show’s 13-year run, millions of viewers tuned in to watch episodes where families who experienced trauma, natural disasters, and other hardships receive the gift of a lifetime – a brand new home.

The show’s camera crew shut down five years ago, but we haven’t stopped watching what’s going on with these homes. Curious? Read on to see where the Extreme Makeover homes are today.

Checking In: Where Are the Celebrated Extreme Home Makeover Houses Today?

The television story delivered happy endings, but the reality behind the show sometimes rendered a complicated relationship between owner and mortgage. For some families, the joy of an extravagant home just didn’t wash with the realities of a crippling mortgage, high income taxes, and demanding upkeep.

In 2006, the well-deserving Hassall Family received a 3,298-square-foot home. The Kentucky neighborhood rallied together to build a space that fit the family’s needs, however, the show neglected to address the family’s long-term financial concerns. In 2009, a short three years later, the Hassalls were unable to meet the increase in utilities and property taxes, and the family sold the home to relieve the weight of a $100,000-plus mortgage.

Other families faced more serious consequences. The Harper family in Atlanta was all smiles when they received their new home in 2005. But when Milton and Patricia Harper leveraged the house as collateral to start a construction business, the business’s failure ushered their home into foreclosure. Facing options like either a home auction or filing for bankruptcy, the Harpers opted for the latter.

Here’s Your Chance to Buy an Extreme Home Makeover Property

While not every Extreme Makeover home faces the tumultuous endings of the Harpers or the Hassalls, the need to sell is a common one. Today, buyers can find Extreme Home Makeover properties on the market, as owners continue to relay stories of high taxes, impossible maintenance costs, and changing needs.

For show-enthusiasts and interested buyers, Jim and Carmen Simpson’s Extreme Makeover home in Savannah is currently for sale. Originally listed in 2012 (a year and a half after the home’s impressive reveal), the city’s iconic mint green, Victorian home is back on the market.
Carmen Simpson refers to the home as a “blessing,” claiming that “the whole experience is a blessing and it will forever remain as a symbol. The house itself will remain as a symbol of how it really impacted our son, Zoë.” Yet despite the family’s appreciation for the home, their ownership ended quickly, and the home is now looking for its third set of owners.

Listed at a price tag just shy of $600,000, the four-bedroom, four-bathroom home includes 3,323 square feet of living space. Built-out in elaborate television style, the home boasts a majestic foyer, sprawling columns, high-end appliances (including a 6 burner gas range, a convection oven, and a butcher block island top), and an outdoor pool and terrace.

If you’re ready to step into luxury, here’s your chance to own a former Extreme Makeover: Home Edition property. Just be sure to do your research, be sure to have clear understanding of the home’s high property taxes and expensive upkeep.

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Sasha is a writer and interior designer who lives in Virginia with her husband and three kids. She developed an interest in high profile homes through her work writing feature stories on them in a local magazine. She knows who is selling and who is buying, and is our go-to gal for any celebrity-owned or million-dollar real estate listings.

The producers of ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (aired 2003-2012) knew they had a winner in the very premise of their show. A construction crew, led by the charismatic Ty Pennington, granted gorgeous new homes to people who struggled with financial hardship or were otherwise deserving of such a life-changing experience. It seemed like the perfect feel-good watch – who doesn’t fantasize about landing the home of their dreams? Each episode captured the moment of the home reveal, when everyone in the family, their friends and neighbors, cried happy tears. So did the audience. But was it all too good to be true? Is Extreme Makeover: Home Edition fake?

In one sense, the answer is no – they really do build those houses. But behind the scenes of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, the situation is not always as joyous and exciting as it appears onscreen. None of the families’ financial problems vanished when they entered their freshly constructed palatial estates. The new houses came with pools and gourmet kitchens, but also with very high real estate taxes and astronomical utility bills. Over the years, a number of the “lucky” families have been forced to sell their homes, and some have even gone into foreclosure.

None of those outcomes are what any of the families ever expected. But when presented with such an offer, who would turn it down? Fans might think Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is one of the best reality TV shows ever, but the truth is much darker than you might expect. That’s how Extreme Home Makeover is faked: by taking advantage of the dreams of desperate families.

Bank forecloses on ‘Extreme Makeover’ family

HASTINGS — Alecia M. and Willie J. Harvey and their children enjoyed minor celebrity status here in 2005 when the ABC-TV reality show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” came to town and, with 3,000 volunteers, built them a free 4,289-square-foot dream house at 908 East St.

That home has two spacious stories, a large landscaped lot and garage, and black shutters.

But later this month, due to financial decisions by the Harveys and much higher bills for almost everything else, their dream home will be gone.

At noon on Feb. 24, it will be sold to the highest bidder on the courthouse steps.

The Harveys appear to have followed so many others into the same situation, They accepted a massive house they couldn’t afford.

A local bank, BB&T of St. Augustine, had issued the Harveys a mortgage in 2008 of $110,000 which — adding all the court costs, insurance, interest, late charges and attorneys fees — now amounts to a total debt of $128,752.

BB&T mortgage representative Ronald J. Gelinas did not return phone calls requesting comment about why a $110,000 mortgage could be approved for a family living on a fixed disability income and little else.

The Harveys received no money from the show, just the house.

Now they are wondering what happened to that dream.

Not alone

Multiple media outlets point out that other “Extreme Makeover” homeowners also cannot afford the increased taxes, utilities and other expenses that become due on McMansion homes that are larger than some owners’ needs.

Like those owners, the Harveys missed mortgage and loan payments, and BB&T began foreclosure procedures on Nov. 29. Their property taxes are paid. According to the county tax collector’s web site — www.sjctax.us — property taxes of $4,830.08 were paid on Nov. 28.

One of the Harvey children contacted Monday afternoon only shrugged when asked, “Where will you go after the house has been sold?”

The family did not respond to a request for an interview.

The Hastings community already knows them as modest, community-minded people who help others when they can.

But they fit the pattern of a financially underpowered family yoked to a huge, high-maintenance house.

On-line blogger Joe Wilson of blogcritics.org wrote, “‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’ producers never estimated the tax bill on houses featured on the show. (The) increasing values and subsequent tax assessments (put them) out of the income range of contestants, which has resulted in foreclosures and home sales.”

A Reality TV Magazine article agreed, pointing out that “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” now in its eighth season, has sparked a number of cases where home recipients find themselves in deep financial problems.

“(Homeowner) Eric Hebert had to put his home up for sale last year because he couldn’t keep up with the utility bills and the fact that the economy had become so dismal,” the article said. “His 3,678-square-foot home — built in 2005 — listed for $529,000 in May 2008, when Hebert first put it up for sale. The current asking price is $449,000.

“Since putting the home on the market, Hebert has used the home as collateral on a defaulted bank loan in the sum of $396,145.”

Hebert, a bachelor, had been raising his late sister’s 11-year-old twins and living in a makeshift berm house before the “Extreme Makeover Home Edition” team notified him that it could help, the story said.

Things fall apart

The Reality TV article continued, “Last summer, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that a couple lost their Lake City, Ga., home after using it as a collateral for a $450,000 loan which fell into arrears. Also, a couple in Oak Park, Mich., faced foreclosure of their home partly because a refinanced mortgage caused their payments to soar.”

That loan was renegotiated to give the family a better chance at keeping the home.

Several on-line entertainment media question that “Extreme Makeover” pattern and suggest that ABC-TV has internally flirted with revamping the show and building smaller homes so these types of foreclosures would not happen.

But critics of that tack say the fault lies not with ABC but with homeowners making bad financial decisions.

On Monday, a Florida Times-Union photo spread in the Metro section showed another massive “Extreme Makeover” home in Middleburg nearing completion this week.

So, according to television, size does matter.

Tom Ward, mayor of Hastings, said Monday night that he was saddened to hear about the Harveys’ situation.

“I was happy to see they got the house when they did,” Ward said. “But I don’t know any facts. Now I feel for them greatly.

“They had an opportunity, and now they’re losing that opportunity. Willie had expressed a concern about the taxes with me a few years ago.”

Home statistics: Size matters

* Since 1950, the average new house has increased by 1,247 square feet. Meanwhile, the average household has shrunk by one person.

* One in four Americans want at least a three-car garage.

* Fourteen million households own four or more TVs.

* “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” recently gave a six-bedroom, seven-bath, seven-television house to a family of four.

* One in five new homes is larger than 3,000 square feet, the size at which it becomes unmanageable to clean without hired help.

* The average cost of a luxury kitchen remodel is $57,000. That’s $10,000 more than it costs to build a typical Habitat for Humanity home.

* The average new home requires 13,837 board feet of lumber and 19 tons of cement.

–Source: Mother Jones magazine

Just months after her husband’s death, Arlene Nickless and her three young boys received the ultimate gift — a brand new home in their native Holt, Michigan, courtesy of ABC’s Extreme Home Makeover. Nearly nine years later, that house is in foreclosure.

A registered nurse, Tim Nickless contracted Hepatitis C when he was pricked with a patient’s contaminated needle; he fought the virus for seven years, wasting away before his family’s eyes, before his passing in January 2008. Shortly after, his widow reached out to Extreme Home Makeover with a plea to help refurbish her 1860s farmhouse. Without her husband’s income, she couldn’t do it on her own.

With the help of over 1,600 volunteers from their community, the Extreme Home Makeover crew demolished the Nickless’s old home and, in just five days, built a 3,300-square-foot, four-bedroom abode in its place. Complete with stone columns, dark wood floors and an indoor water wall, the house felt like paradise — rooms designed exactly to her sons’ interests (a LEGO-inspired bedroom and an airplane bed were standouts) brought joy in the wake of the boys’ impossible loss.

Adjusting to such a big change, even a wonderful one, after Tim’s death was challenging: “All of a sudden there were tons of people here and then the next day, silence. Everyone was gone,” Nickless told the Lansing State Journal, of the day after the project wrapped. “Having to adjust to a whole new life, and not having to share it with — that was really hard.”

Things got harder as Nickless struggled to keep up with mortgage payments — something that she doesn’t blame Extreme Home Makeover for (the show has led to foreclosures in the past after property taxes and utilities skyrocketed post-reno). With the 2008 renovation came a $30,000 property mortgage (and a $5,500 property tax increase) — that ballooned up to $113,000 by the end of 2016. Nickless blames her mortgage servicer, Ocwen, which is now allegedly facing a cease and desist order from the state of Michigan for violating mortgage laws.

John Lovallo, a spokesperson from Ocwen told the Lansing State Journal in an email that Nickless made no payments toward her mortgage since the company began servicing her loan in 2011 and that the company is “committed to working with distressed borrowers to find the right solution to allow them to keep their homes.”

Regardless of how the single mom lost her home — after she failed to meet the $113,00 foreclosure price, the home went onto an auction website for $176,000 — she’s facing another scary period of uncertainty, alone. She was forced to vacate the house on Monday. “I feel bad because so many people came together to help us,” she said. “I know I shouldn’t feel like I let them down, but I do.”

“When I stepped out of the house the day Extreme Makeover came, you will see me say ‘I can’t believe this is happening,'” she continued. “And, truthfully, that’s what I feel right now: I can’t believe this is happening.”

Endemol USA, Extreme Home Makeover’s producers, declined comment to the Lansing State Journal last Wednesday.

GoodHousekeeping.com has reached out to Arlene Nickless for comment, but she has not yet responded. We will update this story as new information becomes available.

NONE —

A Clayton County couple living in an “Extreme Makeover” home delayed foreclosure Tuesday for a second time by filing for bankruptcy.

It appears Milton and Patricia Harper and their three sons will continue living for now in the 5,300-square-foot home constructed four years ago by the ABC television show that rebuilds or refurbishes homes for families in need.

The house was scheduled to be sold on the Clayton County Courthouse steps Tuesday but the auction never happened. Court records showed Milton Harper filed Monday for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which stalls the foreclosure.

In the bankruptcy filing, Harper said he owes $100,000-$500,000 to creditors including the mortgage company, six credit cards, two pawn shops and Sprint. Harper says he owns the same range amount in assets. He is set to meet with creditors April 21, and states he’s received credit counseling.

Harper would not discuss the details of the stopped sale Tuesday.

“I don’t want to comment on it right now,” he said when contacted by phone. He said the family will remain in the house.

The law firm handling the foreclosure would not disclose details, either.

“The property did not go to sale,” said January Taylor, spokeswoman for the Atlanta law firm of Johnson and Freedman. “We can’t give out anything else on it.”

The legal maneuver keeps the foreclosure at bay, said Atlanta attorney Tom Austin, who is not involved in the case. But Jonesboro attorney Stephen White said the filing doesn’t mean the couple stops paying their debts.

“This just means debt cannot be collected without a court order,” said White. “It stops the foreclosure and gives the borrowers a chance to propose something to satisfy the arrearages. The regular payments still have to be made and also whatever is owed.”

White, who is also not involved in the case, said he expects the presiding judge to bend over backwards to help keep the family in their home. Even so, there are limits.

“I’ve seen situations where people will hang on more than what they can afford and the judge has to tell them, ‘Hey, we’re trying to help you get a fresh start,’ ” White said.

The Harper home was given a free makeover when the show’s producers learned the family was having septic tank problems. In addition to the $450,000 remodeling, the show gave the family $200,000 in cash.

The couple borrowed against the house to start a business and ended up with a $450,000 mortgage. After struggling several years with finances, the couple faced foreclosure in August. The house was saved then by a loan modification.

After defaulting on that loan, the house was again up for auction Tuesday. The proposed sale on the steps of the Clayton County courthouse garnered a small crowd of the curious.

“I think it’s sad,” said Myron Wakefield. “The house was paid for and they had all that cash. How could they take all that and lose everything? It’s just ridiculous to me.”

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The home Arlene Nickless lived in with her three sons nine years ago was in major need of repair. Luckily, Arlene was chosen to have her home rebuilt on Extreme Makeover Home Edition. However, after several years of struggling to manage her mortgage, Nickless was evicted from her Eifert Road home. In recent weeks, the home has been up for online auction after it was foreclosed on in September.

In 2008, the Holt resident was gifted with designers from ABC’s Extreme Makeover in addition to hundreds of volunteers who helped to rebuild her home following the death of her husband of 18 years, Tim Nickless.

When Inside Edition went to visit, cardboard boxes were stacked on the dark hardwood floors. Outside, a 2009 Ford Flex that was given with the home sat in the driveway hooked to a moving trailer.

“The sheriff could show up anytime… We’d have to leave whatever’s left behind. I haven’t had a chance to go through everything.”

A tearful Arlene Nickless revealed to Inside Edition that moving out of her dream home was rather surreal, “When I stepped out of the house the day Extreme Makeover came, you will see me say ‘I can’t believe this is happening’… And, truthfully, that’s what I feel right now: I can’t believe this is happening.”

Over 1,600 volunteers from the Holt area showed up and joined the show’s crew to rebuild the Nickless family’s home. The old home was an 1860s farmhouse that had fallen into disrepair during the time Tim Nickless fell ill.

The old home was completely demolished, and after a five-day building period, Arlene and her three sons walked into their brand new 3,300-square-foot, four-bedroom home.

The newly built home was remodeled with stone columns, dark wood floors, an indoor water wall, and a retractable flat-screen television. The home included a Lego-themed room, another bedroom with blueprints covering the walls, and an airplane bed for Arlene’s youngest son.

Arlene Nickless defends the ABC show, whose lavish rebuilds have been known in many cases lead to foreclosure due to increased property taxes and expensive utilities. However, Nickless is not as complimentary of her mortgage servicer.

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Answers The Nickless Family’s Prayers

Ty Pennington and crews from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition arrived at the Nickless family’s doorstep nine months after Arlene’s husband, Tim Nickless, died. A nurse at Ingham Regional Medical Center located in Lansing, Michigan said Tim Nickless was believed to have contracted hepatitis C after being pricked with a patient’s contaminated needle. Tim battled the disease for seven years before his death in January of 2008.

Arlene Nickless describes life after ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’ https://t.co/zA7TGCeC6O

— Lansing StateJournal (@LSJNews) May 25, 2017

Arlene’s home’s foreclosure resulted from an ongoing struggle to manage the property’s mortgage after the makeover. Nickless’ balance sat at about $30,000 after the makeover but had skyrocketed to at least $113,000 by the end of 2016, according to Arlene.

“It took a few unexpected emergencies and I got behind… I tried to work with the mortgage company, but my efforts were shoved under the carpet.”

Arlene stated, “It was an answer to a prayer, 100 percent.” Her sons were still young when their home was transformed.

Nearly nine years after her home was rebuilt on national television, Arlene Nickless must turn in her keys. https://t.co/JxsT3uPFJk

— El Paso Times (@elpasotimes) May 29, 2017

The eviction notice then came in the mail. Arlene said she asked the judge if there was anything she could do to halt the eviction, even health reasons and she recalled, “He said, ‘No.’”

Neighbors who supported her on that life changing day nine years ago have been left stunned by news of the eviction. One neighbor told Inside Edition, “It’s not fair at all… Her heart is broken. First, she loses her husband; now she’s losing her house.”

Extreme Makeover – Home Eviction: Woman forced out of home after it was transformed on TV https://t.co/prRE1MZz4U

— AOL Entertainment (@AOLEntertain) June 3, 2017

Karen Schroeder, Vice President of Mayberry Homes, who was also the general contractor for the home said the construction brought the community together in the midst of the economic downturn.

Another neighbor called the situation “sad.” The once beautiful home is now nearly empty, and the moving van is full. Arlene says she’s trying to stay upbeat despite being evicted from her dream home.

“I feel so blessed we had this happened to us. It’s a beautiful home… They can take away the house but they can’t take away the memories.”

Nickless wanted to give back to the community through the home. Arlene dreamed of using the home as a camp for kids who’d lost a parent. In addition to this, Nickless wanted to build a memorial garden for her husband and a blessing garden for all of the volunteers who helped to build her home, according to Lansing State Journal.

“I feel bad because so many people came together to help us… I know I shouldn’t feel like I let them down, but I do.”

Nickless said she wanted to share her story in the hopes that it would effect change for others struggling with house payments, “It breaks my heart to know there are families going through this every day.”

The widow said she is moving in with her 32-year-old son. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the Nickless family.

Care Free Homes wants to give you a $25,000 Home Makeover for free!

In November, we shared some of the great things that the family owned and operated Care Free Homes is doing in the community and beyond. Donating to charitable organizations, giving away roofs in their “No Roof Left Behind” program, and honoring our veterans and those who have served with substantial rebates in their “Roof Fro Troops” program are just a few of the ways that they choose to give back.

The biggest demonstration of who they are and how big their hearts are is with their extremely generous Care Free $25,000 Home Makeover Sweepstakes. Yes, you read that right: 25,000 big ones, smackeroos, duckets, shekels, greenbacks. Some lucky person or family will get a whopping $25,000 worth of products and services towards their home. They could choose to spend that money on marketing, but they feel giving back to the community is the best marketing there is.

Before and After image of last year’s makeover.

Well, they are at it again!

This year’s Care Free $25,000 Home Makeover Sweepstakes is underway and began on Sunday, January 31 and it will end on April 30, 2016. If you are a homeowner, you are eligible. Simple as that. You can register online or in person at any one of their shows across the South Coast, like the Greater New Bedford Home Show, the Hyannis Rotary Home & Garden Show, the Plymouth Home Show, and the Bristol County Home & Garden Show.

What will the lucky winner receive? Your home will be wrapped in vinyl siding by industry leader, Mastic Home Exteriors. Their gorgeous Carvedwood 44 premium vinyl siding is very durable in all weather and has the appearance of natural wood. Care Free Homes is of course, a Mastic Elite contractor qualified to install this award winning siding.

Your roof will be replaced with the high quality GAF Timberline Lifetime Roofing System. GAF is North America’s largest manufacturer of commercial and residential roofing and they got that way by utilizing the finest and most rugged material available. Care Free Homes is one of the elite qualified contractors: they are a GAF MasterElite contractor and excel at doing exactly this so well, that they won the GAF Consumer Protection Excellence Award.

Best thank you card ever from the two young girls whose home was transformed.

It doesn’t stop there: the winner will also receive Harvey Classic vinyl replacement windows for their home. Care Free Homes is the only Harvey Elite Dealer in the South Coast. Harvey has been producing world class windows for almost 60 years and are the region leader in engineering leak-proof, tough windows. The elite series, like all their windows comes with their industry-leading warranty: it covers the window and parts for life and a lifetime glass breakage warranty.

Can you imagine what your house would look like with new siding, new windows and a new roof? Care Free Homes turned last year’s winners home into a new home in just a few weeks – so you can watch in amazement how efficiently and expertly the experienced construction team works as your new home gets a makeover.

To get a glimpse of the quality of products Care Free Homes utilizes and the craftsmanship and pride that goes into their work, check out last year’s winner here Their green asphalt shingles were were replaced with Mastic’s Carvedwood 44 premium vinyl siding, English Wedgewood which gives the appearance of natural painted Cedar clapboard. Since their roof was in perfect shape, Care Free replaced the roof on their 2 car garage with a GAF Lifetime Roofing System’s Pewter Gray to match the roof of the house. The windows were replaced with Harvey’s energy efficient versions in a six over one grid pattern.

Even the family pet was ecstatic to win!

If the before and after images aren’t convincing enough, the response from the winning family and their glowing review on Care Free Home’s Facebook page and on Guild Quality should push you off the proverbial fence. You can see a video of the reveal here.

The homeowners raved: “The Mastic siding is gorgeous. Our beautiful new Harvey windows add so much curb appeal. The Timberline roofing tops it all off. The Care Free staff and crew were so wonderful and easy to work with! A fantastic family run business with great employees.” The young daughter of the family perhaps said it best: “They took our house from the ugly duckling to a beautiful swan.”

Want to enter to be just like this family? register online here. No purchase is necessary, simply fill out the registration form and click “submit” and you will then have a chance to to win a $25,000 home makeover courtesy of Care Free Homes.

A collage of the home of the 2015 Care Free Homes $25,000 Makeover.
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“Move … that … bus!”

“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” is coming back to television, and the show is currently looking for families who need a total home makeover.

The show originally aired on ABC from 2003 to 2012, and it will return sometime next year on HGTV with 10 new episodes.

Trending stories,celebrity news and all the best of TODAY.

In the original series, a team of carpenters and design experts raced against the clock to completely overhaul, and in some cases rebuild, a family’s home in just one week.

They’re not kidding when they say ‘extreme’!Getty Images

The end of each episode was always a tearjerker, when the family saw their new home for the first time in a dramatic reveal.

In one episode from Season 7, designers helped a family whose home had been devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Getty Images

It sounds like the reboot will be just as emotional as the original series. The show is looking for new, deserving families with “uplifting, inspirational stories that must be told,” HGTV’s parent company, Discovery, said in a release.

“The iconic home renovation series spotlights those who give back to their communities despite personal challenges,” the network said.

The big reveal was always an emotional moment.Getty Images

In a new twist, non-homeowners are also eligible to apply. People renting houses or apartments can apply for the chance to win a new home in their city, or even to relocate to a different city or state.

You can nominate your own family, a family you know or even a family you’ve never met, if you see a news story about them and think they deserve a makeover. (Find out more about applying here).

‘Trading Spaces’ cast dishes on the show’s reboot

March 7, 201905:53

The network hasn’t revealed who will host the new episodes or if Ty Pennington, the host of the original series, will make an appearance (that is, when he’s not starring in TLC’s “Trading Spaces” reboot).

But if it’s anything like the original series, the “Extreme Makeover” reboot will be seriously inspirational!

ABC Cancels ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’ (Exclusive)

ABC has canceled Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

The network has opted not to move forward with the series in its weekly format, The Hollywood Reporter has learned exclusively. ABC, however, will air four special episodes after its current ninth season ends its run on Jan. 13 with its 200th episode.

The series, which features host Ty Pennington and a team including designer Michael Moloney visiting and rebuilding the homes of families in need, premiered in 2003 as a 13-part special to 12 million viewers on a Wednesday night, moving to its initial home on Sundays where it became a regular staple for its first eight seasons.

The Extreme Makeover spinoff continued to grow, cracking the top 20 in viewership in its second season, averaging 15.8 million viewers per episode as it made its way to visit all 50 states helping veterans, victims of natural disasters, the homeless and foster care and adoption organizations. To date, the team has designed and rebuilt more than 200 homes, in addition to firehouses, schools, daycares and more.

ABC moved the series to Fridays this year where it has struggled to attract the same audience — despite a slate of high-profile guests including first lady Michelle Obama and the Kardashians — against competition including Fox’s Kitchen Nightmares and scripted offerings including A Gifted Man. Its most recent episode, airing against CBS’ holiday broadcast of Frosty the Snowman (7.3 million), drew 5.1 million viewers and a 1.3 rating in the advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 demographic.

The decision to air four specials follows a similar model Fox incorporated for America’s Most Wanted. The long-running law-enforcement series, hosted by John Walsh, was canceled as a weekly series in May with Fox opting to air four quarterly specials. (Lifetime has since picked up the series for a 25th season.)

“It is with a somber heart I close this chapter, but with such excitement I begin the next one,” Moloney said in a statement to THR. “I have EM:HE to thank for the platform I have to continue doing good work and great design in 2012 and on.”

Pennington, meanwhile, has already lined up a new gig, ABC’s upcoming daytime health and lifestyle series The Revolution, set to premiere in January. He joins Tim Gunn and Harley Pasternak.
Pennington later posted a statement on his Web site thanking the network, fans and those associated with the show for their support for what he called “the greatest job of my life.” “I believe the spirit of what we have done across the country for over 200 families will continue to inspire,” he wrote. It has been an honor to work side by side with the EMHE families, builders, and thousands of volunteers who have proven that good hearts can and do change the world.”

The series has earned two Emmys for outstanding reality program in its nine-year run, with another year of eligibility to go.

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