Extreme Makeover

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Not to be confused with Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
Extreme Makeover
Genre Reality Television
Created by Howard Schultz
Written by Louis H. Gorfain
Directed by Shanda Sawyer
Presented by Sam Saboura
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 54 (52 aired, 2 unaired)
Production company(s) Lighthearted Entertainment
Original network ABC
Original release December 11, 2002 (2002-12-11) – July 16, 2007 (2007-07-16)
Followed by Extreme Weight Loss
Related shows Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
Extreme Makeover: Wedding Edition

Extreme Makeover is a television program from ABC in which individuals volunteered to receive an extensive makeover in Hollywood. The show was created by television producer Howard Schultz. It first aired as a television special. It began airing in 2002 on Thursday nights at 8pm. A total of 55 episodes were produced. The show's first surgeon was Dr. Garth Fisher of Beverly Hills, California; after the pilot show the first six shows included Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Jon A. Perlman, M.D. FACS, Dr. Malcolm Lesavoy and Dr. Harvey Zarem as part of the original "Extreme Team," along with Dr. Bill Dorfman and Dr. Robert Maloney. Other doctors were selected for the next three years in addition to the above, including dermatologist Dr. Ava Shamban.

Borrowing heavily from the reality television genre, the show depicts ordinary men and women undergoing "extreme makeovers" involving plastic surgery, exercise regimens, hairdressing and wardrobing. Each episode ends with the participants' return to their families and friends, showing the reactions of their loved ones, who have not been allowed to see the incremental changes during the participants' absence.

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, which debuted in 2003, is a spin-off of Extreme Makeover. The home edition ended up becoming far more successful than the plastic surgery edition. Extreme Makeover: Wedding Edition was also piloted as a one-time special, but did not achieve sufficient ratings to be made into a series.

In its first season, Extreme Makeover ranked 40th in the yearly ratings and averaged 11.2 million viewers per episode. However, viewership suffered huge drops over the next three seasons.

On May 15, 2007, Extreme Makeover was officially cancelled by ABC. The show's final three episodes were broadcast on Mondays starting July 2, 2007.[1] A later spinoff, Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition, premiered in ABC's 2011 summer season. This show excised its connection to the Extreme Makeover franchise in 2013, and was retitled Extreme Weight Loss.


Some[who?] have criticized Extreme Makeover of reinforcing unachievable body image goals among both women and men. It is believed by critics that the show implies that idealized beauty can only be found through the aid of cosmetic surgeons, placing ‘beauty’ as a relatively unachievable goal for most people. [2] As most do not have the funds to afford cosmetic surgery, their only other means of coming close to attaining ‘beauty’ is through extreme dieting and exercise, which then has the potential of creating eating disorders, as well as exercise disorders. Furthermore, critics believe that the show exemplifies and emphasizes the importance society places on physical appearance, as opposed to thoughts or beliefs. According to critical analysis, the show places far too much importance on how a person presents himself or herself to society, as opposed to what they contribute to it.[2] Alternately, others,[who?] although remaining critical of the show's overall message, acknowledge that there can be some empowerment that comes from achieving a certain set of ‘beauty’ goals.[2] Comparisons have been drawn to how a female claims a sense of empowerment from finding herself as the object of male desire, either in general social settings, or through her given profession, for example, in the pornography industry.[2]

The issue can more or less be condensed down into examining why and how this certain set of desirable physical attributes has become the pinnacle of physical appeal.[2] With the case of Extreme Makeover, it is understood that the shows producers are not establishing these standards of desired beauty, but instead profiting from them, as well as perpetuating them. It is the further perpetuation of these difficult to achieve, and debatably unhealthy beauty standards that have given rise to the critical assessment of Extreme Makeover, as well as other shows like it.

The Extreme Team[edit]

Nielsen ratings[edit]

Seasonal ratings based on average total viewers per episode of Extreme Makeover on ABC:

Season Episodes Timeslot (EDT) Season Premiere Season Finale TV Season Rank Viewers
(in millions)
1 6 Wednesday 8:00 December 11, 2002 May 21, 2003 2002-2003 #41[4] 10.80[4]
2 22 Thursday 9:00
Wednesday 10:00
September 18, 2003 May 5, 2004 2003-2004 #133 [5]
3 20 Thursday 8:00
Thursday 9:00
September 23, 2004 July 15, 2005 2004-2005 #109[7]
4 6 (2 unaired) Friday 8:00
Monday 9:00
October 20, 2006 July 16, 2007 2006-2007 #175[10] 4.85[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "'Set for Life' Finally Set for Air". Zap2it. 2007-06-06. Retrieved 2012-08-13. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Newman, Jacquetta A., and Linda Ann White. Women, Politics, and Public Policy : The Political Struggles of Canadian Women (2nd ed.). Don Mills, Ont.: Oxford University Press, 2012. ISBN 978-0-19-543249-7.
  3. ^ Dr. Debra Gray King's practice is the Atlanta Center for Cosmetic Dentistry
  4. ^ a b http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,455439,00.html
  5. ^ a b http://web.archive.org/web/20070930171419/http://www.abcmedianet.com/Web/progcal/dispDNR.aspx?id=060204_12
  6. ^ a b "Season Program Rankings". ABC Medianet. 2004-05-25. Retrieved 2004-05-25. 
  7. ^ "Season Program Rankings". ABC Medianet. 2005-05-24. Retrieved 2005-05-24. 
  8. ^ a b http://www.abcmedianet.com/web/dnr/dispDNR.aspx?id=052405_06
  9. ^ "Season Program Rankings". ABC Medianet. 2005-07-26. Retrieved 2005-07-26. 
  10. ^ "Season Program Rankings". ABC Medianet. 2007-05-30. Retrieved 2007-05-30. 
  11. ^ "Season Program Rankings". ABC Medianet. 2007-07-31. Retrieved 2007-07-31. 

External links[edit]