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Dallas Company Sues HGTV over ‘Ugly’ Show

Business

The comedian known as Retta is the host of HGTV's "Ugliest House in America," the target of a lawsuit by Dallas-based HomeVestors. | Image by HGTV, Dallas Innovates

A Dallas company known for its shock-value billboard advertisements that say “We Buy Ugly Houses” is in an even uglier lawsuit with HGTV’s parent company.

HomeVestors of America Inc. filed a lawsuit Monday against Warner Bros. Discovery Inc., the newly-formed parent company of HGTV, over its new show Ugliest House In America. The lawsuit alleges the show infringes on HomeVestors trademark “The Ugliest House of The Year,” according to the Dallas Morning news. 

In HGTV’s version, host comedian Retta travels to properties that owners nominate as the ugliest in the country and awards the winner with a $150,000 makeover, a sort of pimp my ride for houses. 

“The show mocks owners and their homes for odd design choices, often labeling the homes as ‘heinous’ or ‘grotesque,'” HomeVestors said in a statement. 

The HomeVestors contest reviews homes bought and renovated by its franchisees during the year, picking the most dramatic home makeover as the winner.

HomeVestors said the names of the HGTV show and its own contest are confusingly similar and “confuse the public and harm the goodwill associated with its brand,” according to a company press release. HomeVestors takes aim at the show’s derisive nature and says it is not reflective of how HomeVestors operates with its homeowners. 

“HGTV’s attempt to turn poor housing design into a comedy show reflects poorly on the homeowners and on the concepts of home remodeling,” the lawsuit states. “This runs counter to HomeVestors’ brand image, which focuses on helping rehab homes that have fallen into disrepair and helping homeowners out of ugly situations.” 

HGTV spokeswoman Audrey Adlam said the network could not comment on pending litigation, according to the Dallas Morning News. 

In June 2020, production company Big Fish Entertainment reached out to HomeVestors, saying it was producing an ugly-house series for HGTV and that there could be opportunities for collaboration, according to the lawsuit. But in August, Big Fish told HomeVestors that they were putting the conversation “on hold,” according to The Dallas Morning News.

HGTV then premiered Ugliest House in America in 2022 “without further discussion,” the lawsuit says. The show has been a hit thus far, drawing an average of 16 million viewers in the first season. The second season premiered in July, and the show was renewed for a third season due in early 2023, according to Deadline. 

HomeVestors calls itself America’s number one home buyer and has bought more than 125,000 homes since its inception in 1996. The company has over 1,100 independently owned franchisees and currently operates in 176 markets, according to the press release

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Concerned Voter
Concerned Voter
1 month ago

Put me on that jury. I will send the HomeVestors attorneys packing. I knew about Ugly Houses many years before HomeVestors coined the phrase and there is NO company that owns the Ugly House experience.

Bill
Bill
1 month ago

HomeVestors has the gal to say that there is good will associated with their brand? They are bottom feeders that have more in common with wrecker drivers, pawnbrokers, and bail bondsman. I keep expecting to see them on American Greed with a few of the company’s principles getting sent to federal prison.

Last edited 1 month ago by Bill