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

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.