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TLC's Paige Davis-hosted 'Trading Spaces' revamp to debut Jan. 26


By Christopher Rocchio and Steve Rogers, 01/12/2008 

TLC has announced Trading Spaces' eighth season, which will feature the return of former host Paige Davis, will premiere on Saturday, January 26 at 10PM ET/PT immediately following the network's broadcast of the 2008 Miss America Pageant.

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Following its premiere broadcast, Trading Spaces will move into its regular Saturdays at 9PM ET/PT time period beginning February 2.

Trading Spaces' eighth-season premiere broadcast will follow a divorced couple as they renovate each other's bedrooms, and additional episodes will include a bossy mother and her rebel daughter tackling each other's rooms and two moms who each allow their teenage daughter's biggest cheerleading rival to redecorate their family room.

TLC had confirmed Davis' Trading Spaces return as part of a November announcement of a revamp of the network's once high-flying flagship series.

Davis took over Trading Spaces' hosting duties from first-season host Alex McLeod in 2001, and she helmed the show -- which had traditionally featured pairs of neighbors redecorating rooms in each other's homes with the help of show-supplied designers and carpenters -- for the next four years.  However in January 2005, TLC announced it had fired Davis and decided to take Trading Spaces into a new creative direction that would feature a "host-less" format.

After leaving Trading Spaces, Davis signed a development deal with King World Productions, which was considering having Davis co-star in a new syndicated daytime program that would have also featured interior designer Nate Berkus. 

However nothing ever came of the King World deal and Davis, whose pre-Trading Spaces theatrical work included spending two-and-a-half years playing Babette in the national tour of Beauty and the Beast, eventually returned to Broadway and starred in the musical Chicago.  

Most recently, Davis appeared in the national tour for the Broadway show Sweet Charity, which came to a close over the summer, and also premiered her solo cabaret show. 

In addition to Davis, several other former cast members have also rejoined the show for the new season, including Doug Wilson, Laurie Hickson-Smith, Frank Bielec, and Hildi Santo-Thomas.  More recent cast members like carpenter Faber Dewar and designer Edward Walker will also return for the new season.

The revamp also features a significant behind-the-scenes change for Trading Spaces, which launched as an American adaptation of the U.K.'s Changing Rooms program in 2000. 

Banyan Productions -- the production company which had produced Trading Spaces since its second season  (Ross Television Productions produced the show's first season) -- was replaced by A. Smith & Co., a production company that has typically produced somewhat edgier reality programs, including Sci Fi Channel's Mad Mad House and Fox's Hell's Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares, Paradise Hotel, Forever Eden, The Swan, and Skating with Celebrities programs. 

However despite the production change, A. Smith & Co. co-founder Arthur Smith -- who is executive producing the new season along with Kent Weed and Frank Sinton --  says Trading Spaces isn't changing that much. 

"We want to protect the things that made the show popular in the first place," Smith, whose company has also produced tamer fare like A Hero's Welcome, a CBS special about heroes and the selfless acts they'd performed, told Daily Variety in November. "It'll still be heartwarming."

Trading Spaces' core concept -- two teams swapping homes and performing single-room makeovers on a $1,000 budget -- remains the same in the new season.  What is changing is the types of teams viewers will see doing the swapping.

"The big difference will be in the casting," Smith -- citing "a divorced couple" or "dueling mothers-in-law" as potential swap examples -- told Variety. "People want to be more vested in the people they're seeing. The couples may not be next-door neighbors all the time.  You might have a little more conflict and drama than you had before."

(Photo credit TLC)


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