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TV shows should be judged by their content more than anything else, but they always need some kind of coaxing to convince viewers to tune in and give the show a chance. One new project has a name that could be the perfect hook for its target audience, as the FYI network has put in the order for a home renovation series called...Downtown Shabby.
If you're anything like me, you needed a moment to recover from your epic eye roll/begrudging laugh after reading the Downton Abbey takeoff title of the new home renovation series. Downtown Shabby is pretty much both the best and worst possible name for FYI's new project, and it could well be enough to convince people to catch an episode.
Downtown Shabby will follow renovation and design experts Frank and Sherry Fontana in their efforts to restore older homes. Houses that look perfect on the outside can hide serious flaws on the inside, and the Fontanas will work to turn the unlivable into the enviable by getting rid of everything from dry rot to weak foundations to termite infestations. Modern masterpieces will emerge as the experts update the interiors of the vintage buildings without altering the classic designs that made the homes so appealing in the first place. The show will also present the points of view of the homeowners who remain in their houses throughout the de-shabbifying process.
FYI will run the first season of Downtown Shabby for eight episodes of one hour each. Production has actually already begun on the first installments, which should premiere at some point this fall. The network formed a partnership with TrueValue in order to bring Downtown Shabby to the small screen, and to be expected, TrueValue supplies will be used throughout the renovations processes, and episodes will also feature do-it-yourself segments featuring undertakings made possible with TrueValue tools.
On the whole, I'd say that Downtown Shabby isn't really a name that's particularly relevant to the content of the series. "Shabby" certainly works, but nothing about the show sounds like it will have anything to do with "downtown," since that's usually where more businesses than homes are. Still, I can't complain. The wordplay of Downtown Shabby on former hit period series Downton Abbey is pretty impressive. It's not necessarily enough to get me to tune in, but if they can recruit Maggie Smith to narrate, I'd jump on board and never look back.
Hopefully folks still in withdrawal after the end of Downton Abbey earlier this year won't tune in to Downtown Shabby in the hopes that FYI managed to secure a spinoff. Something tells me that the adventures of Frank and Sherry Fontana would be poor substitutes for folks looking for more of the Crawley family melodrama. But if they decided to renovate Highclere Castle, as seen in the show, that might do the trick.
Downtown Shabby has no set FYI premiere date at this point. Check out our fall TV premiere schedule to see what you can watch all the other series returning to the airwaves in the not-too-distant future. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend to see if my just-pitched Downtown Shabby spinoff Uptown Flunk becomes a reality.