6:30am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Ellen DeGeneres to Launch Design Competition Series (Exclusive)
Ellen DeGeneres is getting into the cable business.
The talk show host and producer is teaming with cable network HGTV to launch a furniture design competition series, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
The six-episode Ellen's Design Challenge marks DeGeneres' A Very Good Production banner's first foray into producing for cable. The show, which will premiere in 2015, will feature six competitors tackling challenges in sketching, designing and building furniture within 24 hours. Contestants must showcase their creativity and versatility to impress a panel of judges. The last one standing will take home a cash prize.
"I'm so excited about this show because I love finding really special pieces of furniture," DeGeneres said. "One time I found a beautiful one-of-a-kind armoire that spoke to me in a way I'd never experienced. It turned out there was a drifter living inside of it, but that's a story for another time."
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The series will highlight DeGeneres' passion for furniture and house design. Contestants will be paired with expert carpenters to complete their assigned tasks. A six-part online companion series also will allow viewers to get to know the designers.
"There has been a lot of dancing in our halls since we shared that we will be collaborating with Ellen," HGTV and DIY Network president Kathleen Finch said. "When she talked to us about her love of buying and renovating homes, her personal passion for the creative process of furniture design emerged as something that she wanted to explore more. Since HGTV is the ultimate forum in this space, and since no other network can deliver an audience who is as enthusiastic as she is about the creative process, we just had to make it happen."
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DeGeneres and her A Very Good Production banner topper Jeff Kleeman, A. Smith & Co.'s Arthur Smith, Kent Weed and Jay Bienstock will executive produce the series, which hails from Warner Bros. Television's syndication division Telepictures, which also produces The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
For DeGeneres' WBTV-based A Very Good Production, the series joins programs that include her syndicated daytime talk show; Warner Bros. Home Entertainment original movie Sophia Grace & Rosie’s Royal Adventure; the feature Sing You Home, based on the Jodi Picoult novel; as well as an untitled feature starring DeGeneres and Rebel Wilson. The production company also is producing NBC's lesbian comedy pilot One Big Happy, starring Elisha Cuthbert.
At HGTV, Ellen's Design Challenge joins a roster that includes the House Hunters franchise, HGTV Star and Kitchen Cousins, among others.