In partnership with the upcoming live-action “Barbie” movie starring Ryan Gosling, Margot Robbie, and Will Ferrell, HGTV has announced it will launch a special series, “Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge,” this summer, with 15 HGTV stars competing as they design the ultimate real-life dollhouse for the iconic toy. At the end of the competition, according to a press release, one “passionate Barbie fan” will have the chance to win a “once-in-a-lifetime stay” in the home.
The four-episode series will be hosted by supermodel, designer, and entrepreneur Ashley Graham. Most recently, she co-hosted ABC’s red-carpet interview show before the 2023 Oscars earlier, making headlines for her awkward exchange with actor Hugh Grant.
Graham stepped in at the last minute to replace former “Design Star: Next Gen” host Allison Hoker and her husband, tWitch, an accomplished dancer best known as the DJ on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” The couple was due to start filming the show in January, according to Deadline, but tWitch died by suicide weeks prior, on December 13, 2022.
With “Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge,” Deadline reported, HGTV hopes to repeat the enormous success it had with its 2019 limited series “A Very Brady Renovation,” during which HGTV personalities recreated the “Brady Bunch” set in an actual house. For “Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge,” the network found a house in Santa Clarita, California, to renovate.
HGTV Stars Get Pretty in Pink to Promote ‘Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge’
On March 21 and 22, many participating stars posted the same promo video in their social media feeds to announce the upcoming competition. Fifteen HGTV personalities and one Food Network chef, Antonia Lofaso, will be paired up in teams, the network said, to “overhaul areas of the home with an era-specific style, such as an early 1960s atomic age kitchen, a ‘70s disco vibe for Ken’s Den and a main bedroom decked out in ‘80s glam.”
The teams are as follows:
- Egypt Sherrod and Mike Jackson from “Married to Real Estate”
- Jasmine Roth of “Help! I Wrecked My House” and Food Network’s Lofaso
- Ty Pennington, host of “Rock the Block,” and Alison Victoria of “Windy City Rehab”
- Jonathan Knight and Kristina Crestin of “Farmhouse Fixer”
- Christina Hall and James Bender of “Christina on the Coast”
- Keith Bynum and Evan Thomas of “Bargain Block”
- Brian and Mika Kleinschmidt of “100 Day Dream Home”
- Michel Smith Boyd and Anthony Elle Williams from “Luxe for Less”
Graham will oversee the competition as host. In 2016, toymaker Mattel created a one-of-a-kind doll that looked just like her, using the curvy model’s actual measurements to create the doll, according to NBC’s TODAY Show.
“I cannot wait to see Barbie’s signature style get the life-sized treatment in an actual home,” she said in a press release about the new series. “She holds such a special place in my heart, especially since Mattel created a one-of-a-kind doll of me back in 2016. It feels like such a full circle moment now that I have a hand in the creation of her real-life Dreamhouse.”
Meanwhile, HGTV Head of Content Loren Ruch said, “‘Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge’ will deliver a unique, visually stunning payoff for millions of fans who want to see their favorite HGTV stars bring a treasured childhood icon to life.”
‘Barbie’ Movie Has Been in the Works For Several Years
HGTV and Warner Bros. Pictures, which is behind the new “Barbie” movie set to hit theaters on July 21, 2023, are both part of parent company Warner Bros. Discovery. The movie, directed by Greta Gerwig, has been in the works for several years.
People magazine reported that in December 2016, comedian Amy Schumer was originally set to star but later backed out due to creative differences. In January 2019, Robbie was announced as taking over the lead role and in October 2021, Gosling signed on to play Barbie’s plastic partner, Ken.
There’s been a lot of mystery about the actual plot of “Barbie,” but Warner Bros. Pictures released a movie trailer in December with a first look at the tongue-in-cheek movie. Around the same time, Robbie appeared with fellow actress Carey Mulligan on Variety’s “Actors on Actors” series. When Mulligan asked if the “Barbie” movie will include any of Barbie’s houses, Robbie said it would.
She replied, “The Dreamhouses? You’ll see some Dreamhouses. And it will be everything you ever dreamed of.”
When Gosling appeared in July on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, he said when he was asked to consider playing Ken, it was “the best script I’ve ever read.” Fallon, meanwhile, joked that he would like to sue the head of Mattel because it took so long to put together his daughters’ Barbie Dreamhouse.
HGTV hasn’t announced a specific premiere date for “Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge,” but the four episodes are highly likely to air in July around the time of the movie’s release.