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Beyond Before & After: Inside Producing DIY Reality Shows

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(credit: CBS) Liz Collin
At 15 years old, Liz Collin made her broadcast debut covering...
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By Liz Collin, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – There are remodeling television shows for bedrooms and basements, kitchens and closets. If it’s a space in your home, there’s a show dedicated to making it over.

You might not know it, but many of the stories you see on TV could be from your own neighborhood.

Home improvement is big business in Twin Cities with several production companies based here.

DIY Network’s popular show called “I Hate My Kitchen” is produced by Magnetic Productions based in Minneapolis.

Behind-the-scenes of this show, the process starts long before the cameras roll and the crew rips the room apart. First, it’s family selection. For this episode, “I Hate My Kitchen” will focus on Simon and Gillian from the south metro. The show doesn’t like to give to many specifics for security reasons.

When the show first met Simon and Gillian, they had blue kitchen walls and white cabinets and many of their kitchen supplies in big Tupperware bins.

“We were so excited. It’s also a little nerve-racking,” Gillian said.

Licensed contractor James Young hosts the show.

“The name of the show is ‘I Hate My Kitchen’ and the way they get on the show is they hate their kitchen,” Young said.

Right now, Magnetic Productions produces five shows. The company took over the Minneapolis office that used to be Edelman Productions, two years ago. They’ve produced shows on Discovery, Travel, HGTV and MTV. Of the five shows in production now, four focus on remodels.

Anna Mikelson, the series producer for Magnetic, said the Twin Cities has great material for reality TV.

“I think that Minneapolis and the Twin Cities metro area in general is a great market because we have a lot of homeowners, we have a lot of young homeowners and we have a good variety of styles of homes,” Mikelson said.

After nailing down a kitchen, it’s time to bring in a designer. Kelli Kaufer is working on Simon and Gillian’s project. Usually, she has just 24 hours to put the plan to paper.

“It’s got to be done quick because then we have to look for product that needs to be shipped and delivered in about three weeks,” Kaufer said.

Most room remodels will take months in real life. In the reality of reality TV, they have five weeks from start to finish. A camera crew will only be back to capture five days of it.

It all leads up to the most important pictures of all: the after. Simon and Gillian’s kitchen is transformed with granite countertops, a leather floor, a bright red range and white cabinets.

“To see that transformed has been just awesome,” Gillian said.

Simon and Gillian will be married next month. Their episode of “I Hate My Kitchen” on the DIY Network will air this fall.

Magnetic Productions is always looking for young homeowners willing to go out-of-the-box with their design ideas. The show provides the designer and $4,000 to the project. Some appliances and other materials are sometimes donated by companies.

Click on the link below if you’d like to apply.
Magnetic Productions Casting

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