In a recent previously posted article I had written something of a reminiscing thank you letter to Genevieve Gorder and I caught myself tempted to stray into the greater topic of how Do It Yourself Design became such the big media phenomenon that it is today. Like everything it just didn’t appear out of thin air, but rather from a progression of early reality style tv, to the full blow media circus we find today that includes the Kardashian’s (god save us all we should burn in hell for unleashing them on the planet).
I remember as a kid watching This Old House on PBS, since cable at that time had maybe a handful of channels, my Dad and I would watch the show, he was a fixer up type of handy guy around the house. Doing a little poking around online I managed to come up with 1979 as the PBS start date. And for a long time it was pretty much Bob Vila and that was about it. The format was Bob taught you how to fix a leaky sink, or tighten up the floorboards. What’s funny is ’79 was also the year Home Depot opened their second store. So if you follow the history the DIY idea and ethic grew side by side, as TV, Cable, the media grew, so too did our economy, home ownership, Home Depot. None of these were dependent on each other but were all happening simultaneously.
The big break came in 1994 when The Scripps Company launched the HGTV cable station, that was just about when I started getting a lot more cable channels at home, as the technology moved digital. With so many new channels available, well, businesses needed to fill them up. The battle of the Reality TV shows begins, With COPs in 1989 and the followed by MTVs Real World in 1992.
While I will forever be a fan of Trading Spaces (which premiered in 2000), that was based on the BBC series Changing Rooms (1996).