HGTV Host Returns to Network After Husband’s Tragic Death


Heavy Film crew prepares to shoot scene, HGTV logo

On the next episode of HGTV‘s “Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge,” Allison Holker will appear on the show she was originally supposed to host with her late husband. According to People, Holker makes a surprise appearance on the July 23, 2023, episode.

Holker, who hosted HGTV’s “Design Star: Next Gen” in 2021, was set to co-host the new series alongside her husband, dancer and DJ Stephen “tWitch” Boss, before he died by suicide at age 40 on December 13, 2022. The network later announced that supermodel Ashley Graham would host the show instead. Here’s what you need to know:

Allison Holker Teaches Dance Steps on ‘Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge’

Allison Holker and Stephen "tWitch" Boss

GettyAllison Holker and Stephen “tWitch” Boss in June 2022

Before his death, Boss and Holker were set to star on two new HGTV shows, according to Deadline. In addition to co-hosting “Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge,” the couple was busy developing a second show called “Living the Dream,” in which they would help first-time buyers find a home.

Boss was no stranger to HGTV; he made a cameo on Holker’s series as a guest judge and the couple also appeared in late 2021 on an episode of “Ben’s Workshop” with Ben and Erin Napier.

It’s not clear whether Holker will move forward with “Living the Dream,” but “Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge” needed to start filming weeks after her husband’s death in order for it to air in tandem with the July release of the “Barbie” movie, out now.

Since Holker, 35, couldn’t continue on as host of the show, she instead filmed a cameo appearance with one of the pairs of HGTV stars competing on “Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge” — Ty Pennington and Alison Victoria — as they installed a 1970s light-up dance floor with multicolored LED panels in their space. HGTV did not say when they filmed Holker’s appearance.

In a preview shared by People, Holker watches the pair’s dance moves and laughs, “They’re making a dance floor but they’re not necessarily dancers. They just need some fine-tuning, let’s say it that way.”

Holker choreographs a few dance moves in the sneak peek and tells producers, “They really have such chemistry and they’re having fun. And that really is the real essence of disco.”

Holker shared an Instagram photo of herself on July 22 with Pennington and Victoria, thanking HGTV for inviting her onto the show.

In the comment section, Victoria wrote, “So much love! Thank you for making @thetypennington better so I could actually dance with him. ❤️”

Pennington also commented, writing, “You were amazing! I never knew how bad my dancing 🕺 was until you showed us! To feel it!!!!😂😂. Seriously. Thank you!!! So much fun!!!!”

Holker replied, “hahaha you guys are and were amazing 🔥🔥❤️❤️”

In the episode airing on July 23, Pennington and Victoria go up against “Farmhouse Fixer” star Jonathan Knight and his designer Kristina Crestin as they ensure the primary suite reflects “80s glam,” per HGTV.

Boss and Holker, both accomplished dancers, met on the set of “So You Think You Can Dance.” They married in 2013 and have three children. Ellen DeGeneres was a huge fan of Boss and asked him to be the resident DJ on her talk show. He was later promoted to co-executive producer of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” in 2020, but the talk show ended its run in May 2022, months before his death.

HGTV Says ‘Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge’ is Off to Strong Start


“Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge,” a four-episode special event, premiered on July 16 to “strong ratings,” according to a release from HGTV, attracting nearly four million total viewers eager to see HGTV stars transform a Southern California home into a Barbie-worthy dream home. On social media, posts about the 90-minute episode attracted nine million more views and 450,000 visits to HGTV’s web site.

The first episode saw “Married to Real Estate” stars Egypt Sherrod and Mike Jackson give the home’s living and dining rooms a 90s theme, complete with brightly colored decor and splatter paint. They were up against HGTV designer Jasmine Roth of “Help! I Wrecked My House” and Food Network chef Antonia Lofaso as they designed a 60s-era kitchen and family room.

In the third episode, airing on July 30, Keith Bynum and Evan Thomas of “Bargain Block” will makeover the home’s front yard and exterior to give it a “toy-riffic 1990s spin” while “100 Day Dream Home” hosts Brian and Mika Kleinschmidt will build an “outrageous Y2K era backyard wonderland.”

The final episode, on August 6, sees “Christina on the Coast” and “Christina in the Country” star Christina Hall and her designer, James Bender, create a futuristic closet and dressing room. Meanwhile, recent “Rock the Block” winners Michel Smith Boyd and Anthony Elle Williams of “Luxe for Less” will create a “chic office worthy of Barbie’s storied resume.”