Liz Gray

Contributor to HGTVersus

Jun 14

Ask the Producer: Episode 3

Each week, I chat with Design Star‘s producer Loren Ruch about your most-asked questions from this week’s episode. This week: How do they decide when to send two designers home? Plus, the most memorable moments from the set of episode three.

Producer Loren Ruch with Kris Jenner and Judges

Vern Yip, Producer Loren Ruch, Kylie Jenner, Kris Kardashian Jenner, Genevieve Gorder

How do you decide when to send two designers home? Is it a spur-of-the-moment decision episode by episode or is it planned ahead of time?
Over the years, it has happened both ways. Sometimes we go into a challenge with the intention of making it a double elimination because it’s a large-scale project that needs to have more stakes – this was the case for this week’s Kardashian episode. Other times the Design Panel is so unimpressed by the overall execution of more than one designer that they decide to do a double elimination on the fly – this happened two years ago with our Trump episode when they sent home both Stacy and Tom.

Since Kris and her daughters have their own reality shows, were there multiple camera crews on the set? 
Fun question! Even though the Kardashians have their own reality shows, they never brought a single camera to any of our Design Star shoots. The Kardashians did feature the office makeover in an episode of their show, but that was after we had finished shooting Design Star.

What was the most memorable moment from the set of this episode?
It would have to be Danielle’s wallpaper fiasco! The kitchen was coming along so nicely, and Danielle and Hilari had just completed a really strong camera challenge. They were getting along great and feeling like life was good. Then in one fell swoop all of their walls started to crumble (literally!!) in an instant. Danielle was in tears and starting to lose it. Hilari, on the other hand, was very calm and never lost her cool, but we could feel the tension on set. Luckily, they came up with a quick solution to hang curtains, which basically hid the problem spot and left the room with a very pretty first impression when Kris walked in. Kris really liked the kitchen quite a bit!

If it’s a situation like “the island is too small in the showroom,” how do you decide what to fix and what to leave it as-is?
When our homeowners or celebrities decide to take part in Design Star, they know that there will be certain facets of a room that might not be exactly what they were looking for. However, that’s part of the excitement and reality of participating in the show. So, to answer your question, if something was done incorrectly (like last year’s white washed floors at the bed & breakfast), or sub-par (the peeled wallpaper walls), we’ll have a crew go back and clean it up, but we won’t change or adjust the design components that were put in place by our designers. Basically, if you step foot in Jenner Communications today, it will basically look just like it did in our gorgeous ‘after’ shots!

This comes from Joanne K. on Facebook: I’d like to know if David and the judges get to watch what the cameras record during these challenges so they can see firsthand what transpired between the designers so they can better judge who should stay and who should go?
Hi Joanne! David is in the room during the camera challenges, and is very aware of what transpires. However, Vern and Gen are not part of that process. They judge our designers purely on what they see in the rooms, and what they see on tape in the camera challenges. I’ve seen some of the nicest and coolest people I’ve met turn a little high-maintenance when they are exhausted or in the middle of the design process but it’s often caused by exhaustion and the sheer desire to win. It doesn’t necessarily translate into their lives once they win the show, so we don’t like to focus the judging on gossip or quarrels between the designers unless it impacts the design itself. That said, David can choose to share personal stories or reflections with Vern, Gen and the guest judges during the walk-through if he wants to, but he’s not obligated to do so in any way.

For challenges like this where designers make over different rooms in one big space for a client, do the designers on different teams work together to try to make the overall space cohesive?
They do! For example, in this episode, the designers agreed to let one team pick out the flooring for the entire space so that there would be a cohesive look. When you saw Luca and Bex selecting the hardwood floors, they were doing so with the entire office in mind. They also had several discussions about paint colors to make sure that the hallways and offices had a nice overall look that gave the space a unified feel.

Have a question for Loren? Ask away in the comments and he may just answer you next week.

Posted at 10:21 am

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  1. Not a fan of the Kardashians but still liked the episode. This may have been asked before but why can't the show be 2 hours? There was so much going on in this episode, we really didn't see a lot of the design work. Less drama between contestents and more design please! We hardly saw any of Brittany and Mikel, I thought Brittany's mirrored wall was far superior to Stanley's tennis bracelet mirror. Overall Brittany and Mikel's room was the best, didn't really like the wallpaper in Stanley and Rachel's room. Although the focus was on the messed up wallpaper, Hilari and Danielle's room was really well laid out well, but we didn't get to see much of that room. So glad we get the still photos to fill in the gaps.

    Corvette Lady on June 14, 2012 at 4:10 pm
    • Thank you so much for even asking for 2 hours! That's the best compliment we could EVER receive and it's much appreciated. We are trying this season to really focus on the design and not the drama (although there is some that happens naturally) but we are glad that you are liking the show over all. We will work to make it even better.

      loren on June 18, 2012 at 4:36 pm
  2. Love the Q and A's! They offer a great insight into the show. I had a couple of questions:
    1. Why is David's role as host not utilized in the evaluation/elimination?
    2. What happened to the catchphrase, "Your show has been cancelled"? That was such a great line, and surely Clive didn't have it copyrighted!?
    3. Is there any possibility for a Design All-Star season? Like second chances for people who had potential and might have been eliminated too early (Vanessa de Leon, for example) or strong competitors who just fell short of winning (Casey Noble)? I think people would definitely want to see some old faces again!
    Hope you can answer! Loving the show this season! Thanks. :D

    Laura on June 14, 2012 at 6:38 pm
    • Like the All-Stars Idea! :)

      WillTryDSAgain on June 16, 2012 at 5:24 pm
      • Thanks! I know that other shows are doing this (like Dancing with the Stars) but I think it is a really great idea for a fun, intriguing, and competitive season. :)

        Laura on June 17, 2012 at 2:06 pm
    • Hi Laura – thanks for watching!! And you are somewhat psychic — stay tuned in just a few weeks for an answer to your question #3. Also, for your question #1 we have David trying out the role in evaluation in a few weeks too! For question #2, we changed our catch-phrase to make it a bit 'nicer', so this year it's "We're sorry – we won't be producing your show" — the 'cancellation' reference just seemed a bit mean :)

      You ask amazing questions, and I truly appreciate your viewership!!!


      loren on June 18, 2012 at 4:41 pm
      • AWESOME! Thank you so much for answering, and I feel pretty impressed with my psychic abilities if I do say so myself! :)

        Laura on June 18, 2012 at 5:17 pm
  3. They didn't give Luca a chance.It is so frustrating how they made him look like this conceited person (who I know very well) who is not at all. He can be difficult sometimes during a stressful situation (who isn't?) but has a heart of gold. He truly has talent and it is a shame no one got a chance to see it. That is Hollywood for you… editing him to look like this terrible designer. Also, Vern… I have NOTHING nice to say to you. It is obvious that you hated him from the start. You don't deserve to be a judge on this show. I don't know why you hated him so much?! I just have to say… what goes around comes around! You both were terrible designers on trading spaces! I remember seeing the home owners cringe when they got you as designers!

    Mike55 on June 14, 2012 at 7:13 pm
    • I agree with Mike55. Vern never had one nice thing to say about Luca's designs. He truly had his mind made up from minute one to dislike Luca and his designs. I also agree that Luca's on-air time was edited to make him look like a stuck up person (and I know him too. He can act stuck up but once one knows him, he's genuine.)

      Heather93 on June 15, 2012 at 9:04 am
      • I don't know if this is Luca who keeps posting under different names, but the reason Luca looked stuck up is because of the words that came out of his own mouth. Stuff like proving to everyone that he is better than they are. He came across as arrogant because that's how he acted. Instead of making excuses for him, maybe someone should encourage him to become a nicer person.

        Lucky7 on June 15, 2012 at 10:39 am
        • Acting confident and self assured can sometimes be interpreted as being conceited, especially when the one who is offended is less talented. Rather than being intimiated by Luca saying he is used to designing for clients with a high-end taste, perhaps the other designers should have used his experience at already designing clubs and homes with a top quality flair.

          Shirl on June 15, 2012 at 12:11 pm
  4. Its really a great episode for me. Basically, if you step foot in Jenner Communications today, it will basically look just like it did in our gorgeous after shots

    @juhn_david on June 14, 2012 at 11:20 pm
  5. So Kim Kardashian is filmed performing a s*x act on Ray J, and HGTV thinks these are the kind of people who deserve makeovers? Dina Manzo's father in law was in the Mob, this is what you people promote?

    CharlesD on June 15, 2012 at 7:44 am
  6. What is the paint color on the walls of the reception area in the Kardashian office?

    Carmen Kennedy on June 16, 2012 at 5:37 pm
  7. I'd like to see a challenge where the contestants have to use universal design principles in doing their rooms. It would be great to see Design Star combined with accessibility and usabillity for people with disabilities. THink about this for next seaso.

    Virginia Bemis on June 17, 2012 at 10:59 am
  8. How bout a new season for those who, after looking back after the fact, were probably kicked way too early? Second chance cast. I'd love to see Bex on again, and I'm sure there are several from previous seasons who deserve a second opportunity to shine.

    Lucky7 on June 18, 2012 at 8:04 am
    • Keep watching! We're making a big announcement in a few weeks that might make you very happy!! :)

      loren on June 18, 2012 at 4:42 pm
      • I suspect you'll bring back everyone who we never want to see again.

        However Luca from this season and Cathy from last season, might make for an interesting "Steel Cage Match."

        erikcreature on June 19, 2012 at 7:04 am
      • Can't wait!!!

        Lucky7 on June 19, 2012 at 10:48 am
  9. I miss Bex! Due to the the guys she got stuck with. I don't think she had a chance to show her talent.

    Peggy on June 19, 2012 at 12:57 pm
  10. I'm interest to find out the exact color of blue that was used on the walls for Ep. 3

    Lodger Decorator on June 19, 2012 at 3:54 pm

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