HGTV bows biggest giveaway & sprouts green series

A crop of green thumb shows have the garden side of HGTV covered, while a new contest series puts the house component up for grabs.

Great Home Giveaway, premiering April 4 in the Wednesday 8 pm ET/9 pm PT time slot, is Alliance Atlantis-owned HGTV’s biggest giveaway ever, packaged as a reality series/game show that gets families and couples competing to win a home by guessing its value. For the first four weeks, a national watch and win contest will push the program print – offering viewers an on-screen word of the day that drives them to free daily Metro‘s website to win $10,000 towards their mortgage. The net has also hired Toronto-based Apex PR to run a media challenge that tests journos on their real estate knowledge and ends with a possible $5,000 donation to Habitat for Humanity.

In each of the six one-hour episodes of Great Home Giveaway, participants tour a property as the host gives up strategic info to help the couples guess the home’s value. Then they put their bids on paper and seal the envelopes. Hosts Sandy Jobin-Bevan (known for work with Second City) and Sandra Rinomato (the realty expert in HGTV’s Property Virgins) reveal each episode’s winners by opening the envelopes. If a couple guesses within $5,000 (and is closer than any other contestants), they win the home. Six episodes, six homes – but Alliance Atlantis won’t reveal how many homes are actually awarded (that would be what’s called a spoiler, right?).

Last year’s casting call for the show, which closed with a fall deadline, attracted attention online and contestants for the series are now featured at the microsite The site also features ads for a similar contest by Royal LePage, which invites users to submit true stories about how a Royal LePage realtor made a difference in their lives for a chance to win a $5,000 dream room makeover.

Fitting with HGTV’s current line-up of real estate and property-focused shows, two new series will join the net’s April line-up. Sarah’s House, premiering April 3 in the Tuesday 9 pm ET/10 pm PT time slot, serves up another twist on the home makeover trend. Popular designer and host Sarah Richardson (Design Inc., Room Service) goes from budgeting to renovating, giving viewers a vicarious run-through of buying a house just to change it for the better.

How to Be a Property Developer, premiering April 6 in the Friday 11 pm ET/8 pm PT time slot, follows the progress of two couples who’ve been loaned $250,000 each to make a profit from buying and selling property in one year.

HGTV is also adding some ‘green’ to its spring sked with twists on the gardening theme. Green Force, premiering April 3 in the Tuesday 8 pm ET/9 pm PT time slot, combines the principles of gardening with the mission to create ‘green space’ in communities. The Canadian series features a team planting trees, veggie gardens and other shrubbery, after smashing concrete to get rid of the grey.

Urban Outsiders, premiering April 3 in the Tuesday 10 pm ET/11 pm PT time slot, puts popular English garden guru Matt James to work helping urban dwellers with their greenery. James hosted Channel 4′s The City Gardener in the UK before coming to the US to shoot Urban Outsiders for HGTV. He will also appear in the Friday 8 pm ET/9 pm time slot in April, joining Selling Houses host Andrew Winter to put a gardening spin on that show, which aims to help homeowners unload hard-to-sell vacation properties.

Digging Deep, premiering April 8 in the Sunday 11:30 am ET time slot, put hosts Amanda Brooks and Andre Smith to work analyzing eight gardens to find out what they say about their owners – and prescribe a solution for each.