House Detective

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House Detective is a television program on HGTV, based on an original concept proposed by nationally syndicated home inspection columnist Barry Stone. In its classic format, the program featured two home inspections per half-hour installment. The inspections typically take place in a particular greater metropolitan area, such as Washington, DC; San Francisco, CA; Los Angeles, CA, or far Upstate NY. In a typical installment, a young couple foolishly purchase a house without requiring an inspection and experience problems. HGTV's producers then appear, accompanied by a professional home inspector. The inspector inspects the house and systematically find problems. These problems were revealed in a fashion calculated to maximize drama and opportunities for puns (usually related to the occupation of the home owner). The discovery of dangerous problems was accompanied by frightening mood music, even if the problems could be repaired easily and inexpensively. In the end, the condition of the house nearly always turns out to be better than feared, and the featured homeowner would rally to the cause of fixing the problems. After each inspection, a brief segment called "Inspector's Notebook" offers viewers helpful advice on specific topics mentioned in the preceding inspection.

In its newest incarnation, House Detective is now a one-inspection-per-show format, with the latter half devoted to fixing problems discovered in the first half. The show's format has been changed to target a wealthier, more contemporary audience; thus, the show now features more style and less comedy.