Every episode of House Hunters raises the same questions: Does this couple understand that you can just paint the walls a different color? Why are his-and-hers sinks so important? And why can’t I stop watching this show? Thankfully, The Washington Post is attempting to answer that last query by examining the show’s popularity in an article titled, “How House Hunters became the most unstoppable juggernaut on TV.”
While writer Drew Harwell speculates on some of the many explanations for House Hunters’ domination—it’s cheap to produce, comfortingly formulaic to watch, and often broadcast in marathons—even HGTV seems a little confused by the show’s success. Executive producer Terri Murray explains, “We keep wondering: When are people going to turn away from it? And it never happens, and we sometimes wonder why that is.”
Harwell’s article doubles as a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at HGTV’s golden egg. For instance, the network produced an astonishing 447 new episodes of House Hunters last year, which averaged 25 million viewers every month. Episodes are generally filmed over the course of three days. There are never fewer than 15 camera crews shooting a new episode in the United States and another 25 teams filming across the world for House Hunters International.
According to Harwell, the show really took off in popularity after the housing market collapsed, which perhaps speaks to its voyeuristic pleasures. The article also details the show’s sly product placement, HGTV’s relationship with advertisers, and the deep pleasure of making fun of all those annoying home buyers and their insatiable desire for granite countertops.