Hosted by Retta (Parks and Recreation, Good Girls), the show follows the comedian and actress to 12 different homes across various regions in the United States as they’re graded on a scale of least to most ugly. One lucky home will be crowned the “ugliest house in America” by HGTV who will give the winning family a $150,000 renovation overseen by Alison Victoria.
As the event series prepares to kick off, running weeknights between Monday, January 3 and Friday, January 7, Retta spoke to TV Insider about what viewers can expect from the series, her own love for home rennos, and much more.
How did you first become involved with this new series?
Retta: I got a call. They wanted to try this new show, and asked would I be interested, and having just gone through a renovation of my home, I’ve been very into [home improvement.] I love a before and after. Whether it’s the makeover of a face, a closet, or a home, I thoroughly enjoy them. So, the fact that [I’d get to see] particularly ugly homes become a new and refreshed home was very exciting.
Your reactions are priceless to the homes you’re visiting. Were you given any warning or photos before stepping into the “ugly” homes?
No, they hid me from it. I asked not to see any of them. So oftentimes I was being blindfolded so that they could walk me into the house and it could be a surprise for the very first time. And for the most part, they were all shocking in their own way. It was surprising to find out that some people bought the houses without telling their spouses. I think people might have different opinions. But there was something in each where you’re like, “whoa.”
What was it like traveling and what did you learn from the process of this show? Will you take any tips home with you?
Alison had her vision and it was interesting to see where she chose to get things. Obviously, the region will dictate what you can get in the area, and then there’s putting it together and making it work. So she would design something and then when you see it all together and you’re like, “oh, okay. I see.” So, it’s interesting. Once you see something in a space, you can finally make a decision.
I’d like to think I have my own personal style. I have these lamps in my home [that others initially doubted] and now I get nothing but compliments. Every time somebody visits, they’re like, “oh my God. Those are so cool.” And I’m like, “I told you guys, nobody would listen to me.”
People know you best for your roles in Parks and Recreation and Good Girls. Is it nice going off script with this show for a change?
Yeah. I don’t have to spend the night before learning lines. I get a good night’s sleep before work [Laughs].
When it comes to designs, who’s house would you rather live in? Donna from Parks and Rec or Ruby from Good Girls?
Donna. A queen. I think I vibe a little more with Donna with regard to the fact that she likes nice things. I like nice things.
Ugliest House in America, Series Premiere, Monday, January 3, 10/9c, HGTV