As much as people might like to look into last night’s Star Wars placement on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition as the first signs of corporate synergy between ABC and Disney-owned sister company Lucasfilm, that would have required a lot of Jedi magic in the editing room.
The minor furor, which included a flurry of tweets and blog posts calling out Disney for shenanigans, stems from several volunteers on the philanthropic series dressing in Storm Trooper garb and one of the children getting a Star Wars-branded bedroom. (The Zdrojs, a family whose original home was destroyed in a fire last year, apparently are fans of the franchise.)
At first glance, it does seem more than a little conspicuous, but it’s also virtually impossible for the new corporate partnership to have had any effect on the episode that aired.
For one, the events of the Christmas special were filmed more than a year before Disney’s Oct. 30 purchase of George Lucas‘ Star Wars empire and its announcement of new installments in the franchise. The Zdroj house was destroyed in September 2011 and rebuilt shortly afterward, sources close to the show confirm to The Hollywood Reporter.
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition technically canceled was in December 2011, and all of the ensuing episodes are specials that taped quite some time ago.
There’s also the not-so-small matter of neither ABC nor Disney owning Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. The series, created in 2003, is owned and produced by reality juggernauts Endemol USA — the same studio responsible for Wipeout, Big Brother and Fear Factor.
Needless to say, Endemol has no stake in Disney and likely wasn’t privy to Lucas’ early talks with Bob Iger.
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition ended its official run in January 2012 after ratings dipped significantly from their heyday in 2004 and 2005. Those lagging numbers have not rebounded in this latest batch of specials. The episode in question averaged a middling 1.0 rating in adults 18-to-49 and less than 4.5 million viewers.