Liz Gray

Contributor to HGTVersus

Aug 16

Ask the Producer: All Stars Episode 3

Each week, I chat with Design Star All Stars producer Loren Ruch about the best on-set moments and what you didn’t see on the show. Read on for his dish on The Facts of Life set makeovers!

Design Star Judges With Mindy Cohn and Design Star Producer Loren Ruch

How did you decide to use The Facts of Life sets as inspiration for this week’s episode?

I happen to be friends with Mindy Cohn (and have known her for about 15 years), and I am also an enormous fan of ‘80’s sitcoms – as are many of our viewers! On last year’s blog and message boards many people asked me if we’d ever consider doing a ‘set’, so I thought this would be our chance. What could be more fun than recreating my favorite show of all time, with a wonderful friend on set, and modernize it for a contemporary audience?!

What was it like for Mindy Cohn to revisit updated versions of the sets from her youth?
Everyone fell in LOVE with Mindy on the set! She told so many fun stories, and cracked us up the entire time she was there. She told us that she literally spent ‘ages 14-20’ on that set, so it was really fun to be with her on a trip down memory lane.

Any hints about the All Stars finale?
Sure…why not! If you thought yurts or tiny houses were fun, just wait until you see what our designers do with shipping containers! You just may want to buy one for yourself!

Have a question for Loren? Ask in the comments below.

Posted at 10:00 am

  • Permalink


  1. Loren, just out of curiousity, and looking ahead to episode 4, what are the dimensions of the 'white rooms'? I can't wait to see what the all*stars do with shipping containers…..what an intriguing idea!

    Guest on August 16, 2012 at 8:06 am
  2. I happen to think Dan was totally ripped off this week by being eliminated. His design was fresh, clean and hip. I am the mother of 4 children, ages 15, 13, 11 and 9. All of my children preferred Dan's boarding school look. The green color was a pop to the room. Also, we all loved the coffee table that was actually the orange stuffed ottomans. Very functional! Well, I just wanted to share my opinion, which is bottom line: bring back the talented Dan!

    Jan on August 16, 2012 at 9:55 am
    • I totally agree. My husband and I were shocked with the results as to Dan going home. We like his room much better than the other room! Sometimes I think the judges have bad taste. The colors popped and were fun. The green wall with the blue drapes were great also. And, Dan was our favorite. My husband does not want to watch the rest of the show. Tom should have gone home. He cannot do the camera challenges at all. Also, he fails with editing. The last time we were upset was when Vern Yip yelled at a designer because he didn't know the names of 'famous' designers – we stopped that season too. Don't even care who won after that.

      whiteshark106 on August 16, 2012 at 7:01 pm
  3. Is there going to be another season of Design Star?

    Guest on August 16, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    maria on August 16, 2012 at 2:02 pm
    • Is there a reason or purpose for screaming your comments via caps?

      Are you THAT angry about the decision?

      Payback on August 16, 2012 at 5:26 pm
      • I am, as I replied to Jan! It is almost predictable who the judges will put up as the final two. Tom should have gone. I loved Dan!

        whiteshark106 on August 16, 2012 at 7:04 pm
      • Upset yes!!! I do not like dishonest people. Angry no. Anger is destructive. Caps were on and just left them there. Hope Loren reads this and does the right thing for HGTV viewer although they have never cared for the viewers . One reason why so few design star shows last. Hilari is the same as Kim a few years back always putting the blame on someone else.

        maria on August 17, 2012 at 5:29 am
  5. I have a real problem with the way Design Star and now All Stars is being presented. I feel as though HGTV thinks their audience is stupid or simply that they lack sophistication! I am very tired of hearing one of the competitors point out a concern, i.e. the neon green wall via hilari's comments, then MIRACULOUSLY, Vern or Gen will say that they have the same issue. Not only did we have the neon green wall but we had two orange puff ball stools. Dan said he didn't think the puffs should be a coffee table and voila, it was the same criticism that the judges had. What is really so disturbing about this patronizing method, is that it is done in the same way show after show. Each week we are served up a few issues and then they end up in the judges' critique. I suspect that the entire episode is filmed and then it is edited to make sure that the judges' criticisms are reiterated by the contestants. Too simple, too patronizing!

    Please, HGTV, don't feel as though your audience needs to be hit over the head with a sledgehammer! Maybe SOMETHING could be left for the AUDIENCE to analyze or envision for THEMSELVES! Maybe the audience could try to put themselves in the competitor's shoes and understand their visions. Give us a chance to use our brains and enhance our artistic growth! This is not to say that you cannot teach us something through these shows. I truly do enjoy a good criticism that is explained succinctly and I have a very satisfying "aha" moment.

    One of the reasons I don't watch the major network shows is due to this mentality and now, sadly, I feel as though you are implementing the same methods. Let us, the audience have a part in your production. Let us be the interested, astute public that we like to think we are and not a patronized group of couch potatoes! Thank you for letting me vent but please think about my comments.

    Pam on August 16, 2012 at 3:56 pm
  6. I am extremely disappointed that they let Dan go. His camera challenge was so much better than Tom's. Also, Tom tends to over do it with his accessories. That was a criticism of the judges when Tom was competing in Design Stars so what is the difference between Tom's accessories and Dan's neon green. The challenge was to "update" and "modernize" the Facts of Life. Hilari and Dan achieved that! I think the judges got this one wrong. Dan is a strong designer and should have stayed!

    And I agree with Pam. Stop patronizing us!

    Jan on August 16, 2012 at 4:31 pm
  7. Here is what i found out. Gen and Hilari are friends–Gen twits Hilari- she already has a name for the show. See Below–this is a fraud

    Straight cut and paste from Gen to Hilari: And i think we have a new show…RT @HilariYounger: I love reworking dead zones too! #DesignStarAllStars

    Collapse Reply


    maria on August 16, 2012 at 5:16 pm
    • Suspected as much! Hilari is a design slob. Her portfolio used to get her on the show was the worst of all the contestants ever on DS. She has zero design talent.

      A piano is NOT dead space Gen and Hilari! A well tuned piano is superior to an electronic keyboard, and in a boarding school, where some culture should be imparted to the students, a real piano is a genuine asset. Who is going to gets tickets for a piano recital to see and hear someone play an electronic keyboard? The desk top computer is obsolete Hilari. The students all use lap tops, whilst lying on the bed, or floor, sitting at the table, all over, Except on those ugly orange poofs, which are non-functional for anything. Who can sit on those, unless someone is practicing yoga. The orange poofs (and the rest of you orange that you inflicted upon the room) should have gone "POOF" along with you, Hilari, at the judging table. And what is with the books being placed with their binding spines facing the wall? Who would do that, for a design for students, but an illiterate slob who doesn't read, and can't design to save her life. And her idea of a faux windows and drapes, along with the piece of 'art' overlapping the moldings, made Dan's green wall, look even worse than the colour alone.

      So how does someone as totally incompetent as Hilari keep staying on these shows? Simple! The fix is in.

      erikcreature on August 16, 2012 at 7:34 pm
      • you are clueless…the books are turned around because they are not cleared for promotion by the network…i read you comments every week and laugh at how miserable you are!

        Jesus on August 17, 2012 at 6:25 pm
        • Ridiculous! As though anyone could read the book titles on TV. Stop making excuses for Hilari's incompetence. Did you notice in her Camera Challenges, that no one quite gets what the design tip is that she is supposed to be giving the audience? That because she isn't real designer, and can't even give herself a design tip! She's as clueless about design, as you are.

          erikcreature on August 17, 2012 at 7:27 pm
          • Jesus, I just reviewed the photos of the show. Tom and Leslie's room had books with the spines exposed, titles visible, and the other book case in Dan and Hilari's room had books with spine exposed, and titles visible. Were all those books with titles exposed, cleared for promotion by the network? Cut the crap! Clearly the backward books display was Hilari's low brow idea of what to do with books.

            erikcreature on August 17, 2012 at 8:30 pm
      • And the "creature" returns……

        Per your own former comments, you claimed you werent going to watch the show anymore.

        Payback on August 17, 2012 at 7:16 pm
        • It's a train wreck! Just can't help watching this disaster! And, exposing the reasons for the carnage.

          erikcreature on August 17, 2012 at 7:32 pm
          • Ok erik….I think you just like the show & watch it because of that reason… even if our faves dont win, we watch it.

            I really didnt like when Meg won and I never watched her show and never will…..but I always liked the concept of the Design Star show and heaven knows there's not much to watch on tv these days as it is..therefore I watch it when I remember to do so.

            Payback on August 18, 2012 at 6:41 pm
          • I've never really like anyone on DS. All of them were design frauds. I've watched the shows to see Real Design talent, and all I have seen is personalities that host shows, slop paint around and fill space with piles of crap that they went shopping for. No Real Design ever happens. I'm appalled by the fraud HGTV has been perpetrating, so I expose it in these blogs. It's a public service that I perform in the interest of the Design field, which has nothing to do with HGTV's offerings.

            erikcreature on August 18, 2012 at 6:58 pm
  8. You need the viewers to make a decision whether someone should go home for his or her design. Let us know your opinion as to who are the bottom two and let us pick the loser – in this case it was clearly Tom. Wrong choice, definitely wrong choice.

    whiteshark106 on August 16, 2012 at 7:09 pm
  9. Thank you Erikcreature, Design Star has become a joke. It is deciful!! Probably believes we live in shacks and can pull the wool over our eyes. Shame on Gen–she should go!!!!

    maria on August 17, 2012 at 5:18 am
  10. Thank you Erikcreature, Design Star has become a joke. It is decitful. Probably believes we live in shacks and always llooking for a place to live. They can't pull the wool over our eyes. Shame on Gen–she should go!!!!

    maria on August 17, 2012 at 5:20 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.