Discovery Networks announced today that The Home Depot is the new category exclusive sponsor of the TLC hit series "Trading Spaces." The expanded partnership also includes the renewal of The Home Depot's category exclusive commitment to another popular TLC series, "While You Were Out," as well as advertising across other Discovery Networks including the Discovery Channel, Discovery Home & Leisure Channel and BBC America. The partnership runs from fourth quarter 2003 through third quarter 2004.

In taking over the sponsorship of "Trading Spaces," The Home Depot replaces archrival Lowe's. Lowe's had been the sponsor of "Trading Spaces" since the show first premiered in 2001. The decision doesn't mean that Lowe's is out of the home-improvement show business however, since as we reported back in April, Lowe's is still set to partner with TBS on a new home remodeling series called "House Rules" starting this fall.

"This partnership is groundbreaking as The Home Depot receives the unique benefit of category exclusive sponsorship for two of the hottest shows on cable, with formats that couldn't be a better match for their business," said Joe Abruzzese, president, advertising sales, Discovery Networks, U.S. "We're thrilled at the innovative opportunities to showcase The Home Depot to our viewers."

The Home Depot will provide the budget, products and materials for the design projects on "Trading Spaces" and "While You Were Out." In return, they will receive marketing opportunities throughout both series on all related specials and stunts, as well as on the new companion series "Trading Spaces: Family."

"This extension allows us to hammer home Home Depot's know-how like never before on cable television," said John Costello, executive vice president, merchandising and marketing, The Home Depot. "A program like Trading Spaces shows consumers just how easy it is to improve and personalize their home. It gives Home Depot new ways to showcase the latest trends and innovative products in a hot program format that reaches a very engaged audience."

The partnership also provides The Home Depot with logo inclusion in numerous "Trading Spaces" and "While You Were Out" print advertisements, a direct mail campaign and the opportunity for The Home Depot to feature "Trading Spaces" and "While You Were Out" program content in their publications.

Other benefits to The Home Depot include retail promotion in Discovery Channel stores across the U.S., talent appearances at Home Depot events, a sweepstakes and a variety of on-air vignettes featuring tips for home improvement.

Each episode of "Trading Spaces" provides two neighbors with $1,000 each, a professional designer, a carpenter and 48 hours to redo a room of their choice. But there's a catch -- they have to switch houses, they have no say in how their own room will look and the end result is anybody's guess. The highest-rated, regularly scheduled primetime ad-supported cable program on Saturday night, "Trading Spaces" attracts a weekly audience of over 18 million viewers, across multiple airings.

In "While You Were Out," a homeowner sneakily sends his or her partner, parent or roommate out of town for a couple of days while the series host, designer and handypersons work around the clock to create a new look for an indoor or outdoor space. At the end of each show, the stunning transformation is revealed and the homeowner announces, "Look what happened ... WHILE YOU WERE OUT!"