“Extreme Makeover” started with a casting director looking for an authentic story to tell
The show we know today as “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” came out of a moment of inspiration, the story of one man looking for an authentic story to tell.
Milan Vasic, “Extreme Makeover” senior producer, talked about how the series began during a pep rally last Saturday for the upcoming build.
In September 2003, a casting director named Conrad Ricketts was working on an ABC television pilot show called “Space Invaders,” a concept inspired by the growing popularity of home & garden shows.
Vasic said the Space Invaders crew was getting ready to film a kitchen makeover segment at huge, glamorous home when Ricketts asked himself, “Why would America tune into this show?”
Ricketts left the “Space Invaders” crew and started driving through Los Angeles, flyers in hand, looking for something different.
He ended up in front of a home which was in ill repair. Ricketts noticed a young woman and a little girl in front of the house.
The woman was scraping paint off the front door.
Ricketts watched the lady at the tiny house on the tiny lot, Vasic said.
Then he drove away.
Then he backed up and looked again.
On his fourth time by, the woman sent the little girl inside.
But with all of his Texas charm, as Vasic recounts, Ricketts approached the woman and asked why she had the crappiest house on the block.
The woman told Ricketts that during the past two years, her daughter had been fighting leukemia and there was neither time nor money to keep up the house.
Conrad Ricketts left the woman and the little girl and returned to the big house, pulled the plug on the production and moved the crew to the woman’s house.
Before that episode called “the Powers Family” aired in December of 2003 to an audience of 12 million, the “Space Invaders” name was changed to “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”
Almost 180 episodes later, Extreme Home Makeover still gives voice to citizenship and volunteerism.
Vasic spoke of participation, “a few hours out of your life, to help change someone else’s life, changes you in the process. We are the lucky ones.”