Abstract

In the United States, Home and Garden Television (HGTV) has become an authoritative design brand that defines popular tastes through near-total commercial dominance. Established in 1994 as a basic cable channel, HGTV currently reaches over 99 million American households with daily programming on interior design, real estate, and do-it-yourself decorating. Beyond television, the HGTV trademark spans magazines, building materials, model houses, and digital media. The stability of its “lifestyle brand” across media platforms makes HGTV appealing to advertisers and audiences alike. Yet, to the small degree that design scholars discuss HGTV, they usually criticize or mock its unrealistic and commercialized depictions of design practices. In contrast, I argue that the value of HGTV is found in its performance as a media convergent brand. Whereas old media, including magazines and model houses, bolster HGTV's identity as a trusted source for design products and ideas, new media platforms encourage audiences to act as stewards of their own taste cultures.

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