Is Extreme Makeover hurting or helping homeowners?

As the foreclosure casualties from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition keep mounting, I keep wondering if host Ty Pennington is going to be hauled in front of a Congressional committee sometime soon like the heads of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Of course, the hit ABC show is only trying to do good, but that's what a lot of lenders and brokers say as justification for the subprime mortgage crisis -- they were just trying to help people achieve the American Dream of home ownership.

At the very least, Pennington and his producers would teach a good object lesson on why the whole system went south, despite the good intentions of most of those involved -- and the greed and malice of some, and the ineptitude of others and the bad luck of some. If a good-natured reality show couldn't make it work, how could one have ever expected Countrywide to do it? I say put these guys on the hot seat and let them explain, rather than just keep rolling out episodes featuring ever-more-safe subjects who have been grilled endlessly by the network's lawyers, and who probably will be receiving extended assistance so more bad news doesn't keep leaking out.

Celebrity Foreclosures

    Sadie Holmes, of Altamonte Springs, poses along a wall in her neighborhood across from her house, June 25, 2008. Holmes had her home made over two years ago on 'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,' but now could lose it if she can't pay a $29,000 county lien placed on the property after months of code violations racked up. (Hilda M. Perez/Orlando Sentinel/MCT)

    Hilda M. Perez, Orlando Sentinel / MCT

    'Extreme Makeover' House
    The Harper family home in Georgia, which was rebuilt on an episode of ABC's "Extreme Makeover" in 2005, went into foreclosure this summer after the family used the house as collateral for a $450,000 loan and couldn't meet the payments.

    Michael Buckner, Getty Images

    Damon Dash
    Foreclosure proceedings have begun against hip-hop mogul Damon Dash over unpaid mortgages on two Manhattan apartments. Eastern Savings Bank says the Roc-A-Fella Records co-founder and his wife owe more than $7 million on the properties.

    Gary Gershoff, Wire Image

    Former "Tonight Show" personality Ed McMahon makes "a confidential deal" to sell his Beverly Hills home after falling behind on payments. But one thing is clear. It's not Donald Trump who recently offered to buy the home.

    Matt Sayles, AP

    Scott Storch
    Hip-hop producer Scott Storch went into foreclosure in July on his $10 million Miami mansion, according to The Palm Beach Post. He also had his Ferrari Scaglietti and his prized motorcycle, a Bones Bike, repossessed.

    Wilfredo Lee, AP

    Vin Baker
    Former NBA player Vin Baker has also been stung by the wave of foreclosures sweeping the U.S. Baker's 9,300-square-foot Georgian brick colonial Durham home, which has six bedrooms, a two-lane bowling alley, basketball court, guest house and pool was auctioned for $2.5 million.

    Charles Krupa, AP

    Ernestine Anderson
    The jazz vocalist sings the National Anthem at a Seattle Seahawks game. But Jackson may not be singing now as she faces a foreclosure on her Seattle home. Public records show that she is more than $30,000 in arrears in payments and penalties.

    Jonathan Ferrey, Getty Images

    Adam 'Pacman' Jones
    The home of Cowboys cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones will was recently put up for auction, attracting a $1.1 million offer --significantly less than the $1.4 million he owned on his home. Jones is one of the latest sports stars to run into issues with money management.

    Ray Tamarra, Getty Images

    The Mount, author Edith Wharton's estate in Lenox, Mass., needs to raise $6 million by the end of October to avoid foreclosure. Since February, $900,000 has been donated, but fundraisers need another $2.1 million in order to secure a pledged matching donation.

    AP (2)

    The trust overseeing Mark Twain's House and Museum in Hartford, Conn., still owes $4.9 million on a bank loan and is trying to meet its $2.9 million annual budget. The Twain House's executive director says an ambitious $19 million visitor center which opened in 2003 set the site's finances back.

    AP (2)

The latest endangered homeowner is a case in point. Sadie Holmes was featured on the show in 2006 and was the beneficiary of a $400,000 home with an attached office for her business. The Florida-resident is now under a deep lien from the county sheriff for code violations and she may lose her home soon. She told the Orlando Sentinel, "I'm grateful for this building, but it's causing me too much stress and too much problems."

That's about sums it up -- for the mortgage crisis, the stock market roller coaster and our general financial situation in this country at the moment. And TV is no escape from reality in this instance, but instead is contributing to the problem.
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