The Watchman: Should They Stay or Go on HGTV; Spectrum Subs Get ‘Mad’

Senior content producer Michael Malone's look at the programming scene
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Season 15 of Love It or List It gets underway on HGTV Nov. 18. Real estate broker David Visentin and design maven Hilary Farr help families with humdrum houses make a key decision: Make over their house, or move on.

'Love It or List It'

'Love It or List It'

Visentin finds potential new homes for those on the show, while Farr helps them fix up their existing abodes to better match their needs and wants. Visentin has a knack for “interpreting what a family wants” in a new home, Brian Balthazar, vice president of programming at HGTV, said, while Farr “is a master at seeing the hidden potential of homes.”

A couple of new contractors join the show, and the home designs “have gotten so next-level,” Balthazar said.

He said most everyone can relate to Love It or List It, as we so often wonder if we’re in the right domicile or if there’s a more perfect match down the block. The show, he added, gets everyone to look at their home in a new way.

“It’s an infinitely relatable show,” Balthazar said.

And the Buchmans are back! Mad About You reboots on Spectrum, with six episodes available Nov. 20 and six more Dec. 18. The show initially ran on NBC from 1992 to 1999. This time around, daughter Mabel is off to college at NYU, a few blocks from home.

'Mad About You'

'Mad About You'

Peter Tolan is showrunner. He said Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt heard enough queries about rebooting the series that they finally gave it real consideration. “They were both reluctant,” he said. “But enough people talked about it, and they said, ‘maybe we should.’ ”

Tolan did not work on Mad About You the first time around, but has a deal with producer Sony Pictures Television. He’d seen some of the show, not much, but felt he could write for Paul. He also underwent a crash course in Mad About You. With 164 episodes, Tolan wasn’t about to watch the whole thing. So he asked around on the set, which episodes to watch. Fitting for this time of year, season three’s Thanksgiving episode, where Jamie throws the turkey out the window, came up repeatedly.

A challenge for rethinking a show with seven seasons under its belt is coming up with fresh storylines. Tolan said he heard a lot of “we already did that” in the writers’ room. Having Paul and Jamie as empty nesters makes for new ground to cover.

The new episodes are on demand for Spectrum subscribers. Tolan is optimistic the new Mad About You can reach a wider audience, but Spectrum has not shared plans for that. “That’s the hope,” he said, “that a second window gets worked out.”

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