Side of Ranch: Jay Heater
It's not really our destination, but admit it, somehow we all get stuck while channel hopping on one of those real estate reality shows that are more addictive than chocolate eclairs.
The remote clicks ... Gunsmoke ... click ... Diners, Drive Ins & Dives ... click ... The Pelican Brief ... click ... House Hunters. We pause.
Honey, check out these people freaking out about the black appliances in Milwaukee! I know I wouldn't be caught dead without stainless.
HGTV was genius when it thought up this one. It combined our obsession with touring model homes or open houses, even if we don't need one, with the fun of criticizing someone else's tastes. Since everyone has different ideas about home decor, it produces some mean, literally, viewing.
Up next on the House Hunters firing line is Lakewood Ranch's Kimberly Miele, whose home search in Manatee County included the need for a waterfront property and a steam shower, among her most sought after amenities.
"I am afraid I will come across as a princess," Miele said from her current home in Central Park.
In this case, HGTV probably is hoping the viewers cut Miele a little slack. She moved to Lakewood Ranch in 2004 from Boston and became entrenched in the community. But her husband, Mike, died in 2014 from a blood clot in his stomach. Mike was well-known in the area, having been an insurance executive and a member of the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance.
Since the couple built their home together in Central Park, Kim needed an emotional change. Plus, she wanted a shorter drive to Saint Stephen's, where her two children, 13-year-old Jake and 7-year-old Maximus, attend school. A friend told her story to House Hunter executives, who loved it after interviewing Kim in May. Filming began in June.
Considering the show doesn't air on HGTV until Friday, Nov. 3 at 10 p.m., Kim can't divulge which of three homes she picked. You will have to watch it yourself at home, or at a viewing party at MacAllisters Grill & Tavern, 8110 Lakewood Main Street. You don't need a password to get in, but if you said "Princess," it would be a lot of fun.
If you aren't a fan, the show takes someone in the market and has them look through, usually, about three homes for sale. They go room-to-room marveling at positives, and condemning things such as gaudy wallpaper. The suspense builds as the potential owner(s) try to make a choice. For at-home viewers, it's like "Let's Make a Deal." Are you going to pick what's behind Door No. 1, 2 or 3? Some of you might have caught yourself even screaming, "Take No. 2."
While Kim, who is the executive director of Gulf Coast CEO Forum, and her friend/Realtor Gene Sherry of Keller Williams, couldn't reveal the show's secrets, they did offer some clues.
This is, after all, reality, even if it takes five shots to get the proper reality.
Kim explained those behind the cameras are adamant about getting big reactions. Now consider Kim, Gene and Gene's wife Lara, who was Kim's companion while house hunting, spent almost five full days filming for a 20-minute segment.
"They want to see your reaction, but as the day goes on, you get tired," Kim said. "We're not actors. So they say, 'Can you do it again?'"
Her boys learned some lessons about putting a reality show together. The show's directors knew the boys would love playing miniature golf at Lakewood Ranch's The Fish Hole. But the boys, who love the place, didn't want to play at that particular time.
"It was 98," Jake said. "It was a terrible idea."
Still, they were smiling.
Gene hopes the show will give him some business exposure, but whether it does or not, he said it was fun.
"After 15 years in the business, getting to do something like that was different and exciting," he said. "It felt very much like a movie because we had a camera crew and a guy with a mic. But you also know there is a loss of control. It's up to them to decide what footage to use."
It's something that will make Kim a little nervous until she sees the show on Friday. "Hopefully I look good on camera," she said with a smile. "I am a 40-something."