Kayla Kitts

Contributor to HGTVersus

Aug 10

Ask the Producer: Dream Kitchen Challenge

Loren Ruch With Paula Deen

Each week, we ask Design Star producer Loren Ruch your most-asked behind-the-scenes questions. This week, Loren shares the funniest moments from the shoot with guest judge Paula Deen. Plus, what really happens during the judges’ deliberation process?

What was it like being on set with Paula Deen? What was the funniest moment of the shoot?
Being on the set with Paula made me wonder, “Is it really fair to call this ‘work’?  I’m having far too much fun to consider this part of my job!” She was a bundle of fun energy and kept the entire crew laughing from start to finish, especially during moments when she’d say things like “Cat Fight!” during a tense moment in evaluation. However, my favorite moment with Paula happened behind the scenes when I saw her looking very ‘seriously’ at her iPad. I thought that something important must have been happening to her at that moment, and I asked “Are you okay? You look concerned. Do you need anything?” She replied, “Darlin’, I’m not concerned about anything…I’m in the middle of a tense game of Angry Birds!” I started to crack up…and so did she. She’s a burst of fun, positive and insightful energy!

How long is the actual time the designers wait for the decisions and how much of their conversation while waiting is edited out? Have the judges ever been deadlocked about who to send home?
Excellent question! Deliberation can run anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours or more. During that time the Design Panel talks through the camera challenges, design challenges and any thoughts they have — and eventually come to a conclusion on their own. There have been disagreements on a particular decision from time to time, but they have never ultimately been deadlocked.

What happened to the kitchens after the challenge?

In a challenge like this (which took place in a studio rather than a real home) the items are either returned or donated. However, if we were doing a challenge at a real home, the homeowners get to keep all of the furnishings that were part of their makeovers.

With the next kitchen challenge, next time, could you do a challenge using a small kitchen done efficiently, incorporating lighting new counters ,eco-flooring and material choices and types so we can learn from the kitchen designs?
We’re in the very early stages of discussing challenges for next year, so I will definitely add this to our suggestion box. I think that it’s a wonderful, relatable and interesting idea!

Do you have a question for Loren about the inner-workings of Design Star? Ask in the comments below and he may just answer you next week.

Posted at 6:24 pm

  • Permalink


  1. Do the judges get to come in and look at the projects while the designers are still working on them?

    Libby on August 10, 2011 at 5:28 pm
  2. I agree with all of the comments here, I guess the judges do not get to see the footage, when it is obvious that Cathy should be the one sent home. She is not that well with the camera, just because she was a reporter, that doesn't mean that she should be in front of a camera. Send her home already, you keep sending the wrong ones home. On todays show Karl tried to move stuff around and she kept putting it back, so it is not Karls fault for not trying, the only thing I would do if I was one of them, it to tie her on a chair, so she doesn't touch anything. Todays kitchen looked like the Green Giant threw up in there, now, really, I don't like to be mean, but seriously I will not watch her show if she wins. I have been watching Design Star since it started, and I have seen fair amount of the judges not being sort of right, but in the end everything is well, this time it doesn't look like is going to be. If this is justice like Cathy says: "this is the first I heard of it"

    RedSonia on August 10, 2011 at 5:31 pm
  3. :Tyler's Camera challenge was a disaster!!! I think that is why Kevin edged him out. Both made design mistakes, but Kevin's camera challenge was much better. Just my thought.I agree that the designers should have help to execute. Perhaps they should have design challenges that incorporate different elements that everyone must do…. paint, build from scratch, stage.

    kelly on August 10, 2011 at 5:32 pm
  4. I have an idea for the kitchen challenge, so since Food Network and HGTV are sister networks, the designers could make the sets of the kitchens that the contestants of Food Network Star would use if they got their own shows. I'm so bummed that they didn't do it this year. It would have been sooo perfect. There were 4 design teams and 4 contestants left onNext Food Network Star. The clients would be totally fun and could you imagine designing a kitchen for Vic Vegas, Jeff, Susie, or Mary Beth?

    Nate on August 10, 2011 at 5:35 pm
  5. Cathy is such a turn off for this seanson's Design Star. Major attitude which makes the show difficult to watch. How can she host a show went she is so difficult and has not talent except for telling everyone she can ace a challange because she is so good. Lady has major ego and not talent. Would not watch any show she might host. Time for her to go home.

    opinion of one on August 10, 2011 at 6:05 pm
  6. I don't understand why Cathy is allowed to compete in this design competion with the advantage and experience before the camara due to her previous career as a news caster. I don't think is fair to the others…they should all be equaly qualified.

    NANCY on August 10, 2011 at 6:19 pm
    • Not just a news caster but as a design show host on HGTV Canada'S TOP 10 and her show Metro Residential on WPIX.

      Nebraska on August 11, 2011 at 5:08 am
      • I agree with you and others, that this seems to be a bit of a set-up to get her off to a head start on her new show on HGTV. How wrong they are! What it's done is made us loyal D.Star viewers distrustful. Plus, with the panel being our favorite designers, it's THEIR reputations on the line too. Where they instructed to give her an edge? If so, that's called a FIX. I sure hope we're wrong.

        kate on August 11, 2011 at 6:47 am
  7. Is there a reason why you are adding shows like Dina's Party and Donna Decorates Dallas? You think we want to watch people like Dina from Real Housewives of NEW JERSEY on HGTV? And you really think we forgot about whiny, complaining bossy Donna who lost on the first DS season so you give her a show? Are you trying to turn HGTV into reality shows central? You know, I was told real designer professionals don't take HGTV seriously OR WATCH IT. Now I know why. Parties? Decorating? Really? In this economy you really think people are going to tune into THESE KIND OF SHOWS? HGTV was one of the few networks I really enjoyed watching. I have been a long time fan because of the format and content. But you're flushing it down the toilet. Thanks a lot. I am truly disappointed. And I'm not goin to even mention the Cathy DEBACLE. You might have HGTV viewers intrigues at the moment. But you are going to lose a lot of long time viewers who watch HGTV 24/7 LIKE ME. Please provide quality, substantive shows and content with REAL DESIGNERS AND PROFESSIONALS – NOT YESTERDAY'S WASHED UP HAS BEENS FROM OTHER SHOWS AND OTHER NETWORKS. AND SOMEONE ELSE MENTIONED THIS BUT DIVERSITY WOULD BE NICE IN YOUR HOSTED SHOWS!

    fanfair123 on August 10, 2011 at 6:32 pm
    • i couldn't agree more, but you can count on them NOT responding to your comment. They think they are the next BRAVO network. I've mentioned before that they went to great lengths to steal talent away from TLC years ago but now have gotten rid of all that talent. It is obvious that you have to meet a particular criteria (age, good looking, sexual preference, and willing to just be salesmen/women for all the product placement that most of the remaining shows are anymore). The network gave up EDUCATING those of us that tuned in to learn about renovating.

      todd on August 10, 2011 at 7:34 pm
      • OK. Well I can accept that HGTV has to compete with other TV networks to keep their sponsors happy and the money coming in. But don't treat us like a bunch of morons who watch TV like zombies. HGTV, IF YOU HAD A CLUE, you would know how to keep your viewers happy and coming back without compromising what HGTV is truly supposed to be about AND add the glimmer/glitz. But instead you resort to cheezy, cheap, tacky, over the top trickery, abandoning your long time viewer fan-base! Contrary to your belief, WE ARE NOT ALL STUPID.

        fanfair123 on August 10, 2011 at 8:04 pm
        • I watch it SO less often now anyway, since every time I check what's on it's a real estate show. I think it's really tacky with how many people have lost their homes or are underwater, to have so many shows about people having fun house hunting. I wouldn't mind if it was just once a day, but it seems like House Hunters is always on! I miss Discovery Channels old designers, like Christopher Lowell. Get him, you'll have viewers!

          kate on August 11, 2011 at 6:56 am
  8. Actually, there's a question about Donna's show and Todd's–seasons 1 and 2, respectively. In the contract for the show, does it free them up to pitch other ideas for shows as individuals (other than the "You win a show!" one) after a certain amount of time, so those two pitched them, or did the programming department think independently that they would be good and contact them? Or is anyone free to pitch a show at any time, and it's just that none of the others have made a successful pitch?

    For those who keep asking why they keep putting people like Cathy on, I'd suggest perusing any thread here, where she's the main topic of conversation. All that does is say, "Hey, look, everyone talks about that kind of character type! That's what we should have! Everyone loves having someone to root against!" (NB to HGTV: It doesn't actually mean that. It pretty much means what it says.) So every post that complains about Cathy and says she should be off the show–rather than, say, praising Kellie or Karl (or anyone) for their contributions–makes it more likely that we'll have another Cathy next season.

    BuffaloBarbara on August 10, 2011 at 8:18 pm
    • You are sooo right about your statement on the "Cathy" persona on TV. They will just bring another one back for sure next season. I had mentioned this early on in the posts – to just ignore her but i guess it's hard to watch your favorite designers go home week after week and some go home unfairly. :( Hard to watch that and not comment.

      fanfair123 on August 10, 2011 at 8:28 pm
  9. Hi Loren… this is a comment about HGTV programming… could you pls relay it to the proper person? Thanks!

    I like that HGTV is bringing more design shows to the lineup… that is very exciting and thank you. But I had to turn off Donna Does Dallas, I mean Donna Decorates Dallas after about 10 minutes… it *might* appeal to some viewers in Dallas, but I found it horrible… such an overdone styling sense and Donna is tres bizarre. I didn't even know about the real housewives person with her show… won't be watching that for sure.

    Am really liking the Novogratzes and Room Crashers… both good shows with entertaining hosts… keep these types of shows coming please! Thank you. ps Also used to really like the host of the Unsellables, Sophie… she would make a great host for a new show… just a thought.

    cnico on August 10, 2011 at 9:57 pm
  10. One word for Cathy: FAKE. Just read the overwhelming negative viewer comments on her. This is simply a fact. If she wins and gets a show, I'll boycott Design Star and her show. Cathy is the antithesis of why I watch HGTV. Her continued presence on the show is sign of how the producers and the judges have lost their way and misplaced the spirit of HGTV. Your network has been a success because it shows ordinary people how design can be a part of their lives–and does it with hosts who are talented, genuine, and likable. Cathy has none of these qualities.

    HGTVmaven on August 11, 2011 at 12:35 am
    • I totally agree with you. I can't stand watching Cathy and have pretty much stopped watching the show since she is still there. If she ends up with a show I'm done watching this entire network. They really need to get rid of her before they lose their network all together!

      Sue on August 11, 2011 at 1:41 am

About HGTVersus

HGTVersus is your behind-the-scenes window into HGTV's hottest competition shows. Chat about the action, watch exclusive videos and more.