Behind the Scenes of Ellen's Design Challenge

By: Liz Gray

We all know that comedian and daytime TV host Ellen DeGeneres loves to dance, but did you know that she’s also a huge fan of custom furniture? That’s why she dreamed up the idea for the new HGTV competition show, Ellen’s Design Challenge. I chatted with show producer Loren Ruch to get the inside scoop on this all-new series before the big premiere. Read on to find out about the show…including how they made furniture “sexy” and whether Ellen’s dance moves have a spot in the show.

Photo by: Gilles Mingasson / Getty Images

Gilles Mingasson / Getty Images

I Heart HGTV: How did Ellen get involved with the show? Did she come to HGTV with the idea? 

Loren Ruch: Ellen is a HUGE lover of furniture, so when she pitched this concept, we jumped at the opportunity. Not only is it something new and different for HGTV, it was also an amazing opportunity to work with the beloved and talented Ellen DeGeneres.

How did the team come up with the challenges? As a custom furniture enthusiast and funnywoman, what did Ellen bring to the challenge development?

Ellen assembled a production team that had as much enthusiasm for furniture as she did. They came up with a variety of challenges that will give our viewers the widest variety of reveals you can imagine. As crazy as it sounds, our goal with this series was to make furniture development ‘sexy’ — and boy oh boy did we live up to that!

What can viewers expect from this new series? How is it different from HGTV shows past?

It’s really different than any of our other competition shows because you get to really see the amount of time and energy that gets put into an individual project.  We’re used to seeing entire rooms get transformed, but the process of seeing a highly complex piece of furniture is just as interesting in its detail and design process!

Clue us in…does Ellen dance on the set?

I’m not going to give away all of our secrets! But what I will say is that she kept us in stitches both in front of and behind the scenes!

Funniest moment on set?

This was a really fun show to be on set for because we had amazing contestants, talented carpenters, and of course Ellen! All I can say is that there was a ‘klutzy’ moment that made me do a spit take on set! I’m not going to say more than that…

Most nerve-racking moment on set?

Any time you have tight deadlines and real stakes you’ll find some very tense moments — especially between the contestants and their carpenters!

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