Candice Olson’s new show=fail

Candice Olson has a new show, titled, “Candice Tells All.” I have to say, I miss her old show, “Divine Design.” Candice’s old show focused on design, showing Candice in her studio drawing room elevations and choosing finishes. The old show did not worry about the tactics of construction and install, but more on the design process and final product. The new show is about Candice finding inspiration from others—using the color black was inspired by a Mies van der Rohe skyscraper and Candice’s friend a fashion designer. This part of the show isn’t so bad. But the majority of the show is focused on construction and the “problems” that her team solves along the way. I put problems in quotation marks because the problems are actually common sense knowledge a contractor/designer should have. Like:

  1. Not pre-measuring doorways and furniture to make sure it will be able to move in. On the first episode, the team shoved a piece of furniture up the stairs, scuffing and ripping up the walls. That’s just embarrassing.
  2. Spending 10 minutes on the show trying to figure out how to install a fireplace without installing gas lines. Ding! (ten minutes later) the crew realizes they can install a clean burning, vent-less ethanol fireplace. Duh.
  3. Doing a “primer test” to see which primer will be the best to use as a base over wood paneling—the cheap stuff or the stuff designed for this purpose. Painting it on the walls and then coming back after it has dried to see which primer passes the “scratch test.” Just buy the right product the first time. And if you’re trying to educate the audience, have one of the contractors talk to the camera, explaining they purchased the type of primer that is best suited for wood paneling.
  4. Needing to tear down an entire ceiling to install recessed lights because there is plumbing up there. This should not be a surprise to a contractor. The show should showcase the knowledge of it’s contractors and designers, not dumb them down to show “problem solving” to the audience. Oh shoot, Candice needs to do another lighting plan. “And I hate doing lighting plans and extra work,” exclaims Candice.

When Candice says things like, “Hopefully we won’t have any more surprises,” it just further proves my point that the “problems” are built into the show. The fake problems (and don’t even get me started on the fake hair bun) are enough to keep me from tuning in.

This is what I think happened. Candice’s contract was up. And she decided she wanted to work less and get paid more. So she hired design assistants (who do all the work). And then Candice just shows up on TV for discussion. It’s likely that the producers changed the show’s format based on the success of other shows like “Holmes on Homes” and David Bromstad’s “Color Splash.” But it doesn’t work for Candice.

What happened to Candice’s brain, personality and humor? And what about Chico the electrician? Candice’s new project manager Steve is super boring. I miss the “swee daw” intro music. I miss the focus on design thinking and finishing options. But mostly, I miss the smart and funny Candice.

One more word on the fake hair bun—Candice, you’re not fooling anyone. We all know you don’t have long enough hair to wind up into a giant hair bun. Especially when we see you in a scene with the bun and the next scene is a nubby pony tail.

Basically, the producers have dumbed down the show to appeal to a different audience. And that new audience is not me.


  1. Tara says

    First of all, I don’t miss Chico, and don’t really care about him. What I miss is the design. It’s just not up to par as it was from Devine Design (the high quality of the design was the only real reason I watched the old show), and I think I know why…

    BUDGET. There is obviously a huge difference with the budget for Devine and the new show. Cheap makeovers like Design on a Dime is what this show has become. I know her old show used real clients and they really footed the bill for those renovations. I read an interview with her and she stated that some costed up to $100,000. There is no way that these new projects are putting in this kind of money, hense the lack of quality in the results.  

    I could also do without the inspirations. While nice, the reason I watch is for interior design, not an art class. Plus they are waaaaay too serious. Maybe if she threw in some of her corny stand-up material…

    But I do like the problems that come up.    I can see they are possibly fake, but as a non-professional who is trying to renovate and decorate my home in an upscale manner, I find these basic issues/tips helpful. 

    Also I disagree with a lot of you, I think the “New” Candice looks absolutely beautiful and an improvement. Plastic surgery and all. (What did she do?? I can’t figure it out??!! Spray tan? Lighter, longer hair? Fillers?) I want her doctors number!!!

  2. Karen says

    Why did the successful old format have to be redone?
    The ridiculously inept light that this new format reflects on Candace
    Is just not believable! No designer could EVER have been successful
    in the business being the stumbling, bumbling never on time, can’t
    seem to ever get it together fool that Candace ow appears to be!
    Just a completely stupid format that’s more about Candace and her wardrobe,
    hair styles, kids’ schedules, than anything else! I am no longer a fan!

  3. Alan says

    I’ve noticed that these DIY shows are all becoming more scripted and, as a result, more boring. I especially hate the manufactured crises that fail to add drama to the show. (I’m thinking especially of formula shows like “Love It or List It”). Candice doesn’t exactly thrive in such conditions.

  4. Karin says

    :( Terrible, I feel like I’m watching Modern Family, a made up reality show. The only difference is I enjoy Modern Family.

  5. Karina says

    I agree completely with the previous comments on the current HGTV programming
    format, very real estate sales oriented rather than design focused – and
    very redundant, boring and phony. As for Candace Tells All – who could
    possibly ‘buy’ what she is selling on this new show! She is no longer
    believable as a competent designer, and bearly tolerable as a TV
    personality – who cares if she lost an earring, lost her voice cheering
    at a hockey game the night before, or is shopping for party decor
    for her kids birthday party?? Please bring back reruns of Divine Design
    where we could all be fascinated and inspired by Candace’s wonderful
    design abilities instead of watching her stumbling, bumbling construction
    crew try to work through ‘problems’ on Candace Tells Nothing!! I’ll take
    Sarah in any format, with any of her various sidekicks, any day!!

  6. Agnes says

    What happened to old crew, and why the change? U am trying to get used of the new show . Sooo different.

  7. Deborah says

    Completely agree. Loved the old show, not a fan of this one. Bring back Chico and the gang, take off the fake bun, put on some work clothes and get back to it Candice! I have a feeling she is doing real design at other homes off the camera and just shows up a couple of times to “fix” the problems on this one.

  8. Jackie says

    I have to agree. I miss the classy style on Divine Design which I believe reflected the ‘true’ Candice. While the final designs on Candice Tells All were good, it was her sophisticated, breath-taking design on Divine Design that inspired me to tune in to HGTV. I watched religiously. This year’s programs are over-scripted and predictable. Bring back Candice and Genevieve!

  9. Lisa says

    2 things .. they revamped the show cause design shows are out…they were trendy and now they are not thats why Sarah is no longer on…. 2 .. I work with Candice and she hasnt had plastic surgery!

  10. K.F. says

    Love Candice Tells All and most of the comments here are ridiculous. Candice is clearly still a wonderful designer and I think the fact that the design inspirations are shown is great, showing more of how designers think. She still shows us the actual design plans and as for design assistants I’m quite sure that they have ALWAYS been a big part of the equation, whether we saw them on Divine Design or not. But, negativity always happens when there’s a new show since most viewers don’t like change. Get over it, people. It’s a great show!

  11. cynthia says

    sorry…. there are many of us who still enjoy design and DYI shows. like joan steffan and the old “trading spaces” sort of format. despise all the “house hunters” crammed down our throats. bring back the old days. when we could LEARN a few things from watching TV!

  12. Susan says

    I can really do without the little skits they put on.
    If I want to watch something fake, I’ll watch
    a show with real actors. It’s annoying and insulting.

  13. Judy says

    I totally agree that the show has gone down hill. It is full of bad comedy and NOT design. There is nothing to learn from these shows. I don’t agree with Lisa that design shows are out. There are many of us interested in design shows and want more. HGTV has turned into a real estate channel and I don’t spend much time watching it anymore because of that.

  14. Georgia Damino says

    I only watched the HGTV channel for the design shows such as the candice olsen show divine design and sara richardson’s sara’s house. I used to look forward to these shows and now they are gone. Unless they return, I will not watch the HGTV channel again.

  15. Sandra says


  16. Vee Keating says

    I’m currently watching Candice’s show. The entire format of HGTV is a waste of my time. I dont care to see arrogant Americans looking at international properties and whining. I dont care to see people looking for homes 24/7. What happened to the great idea-inspiring shows that HGTV were known for? I have a sneaking suspicion that one word is to blame…..BUDGET. These ridiculous shows following couples without vision to complain about a prospective home’s choice of wallpaper or a backyard that needs mowing certainly costs less than rehabbing someone’s living room. What a shame. Someone out in TV land will take up the slack. And Candice….I dont need to watch you shampooing your dog who’s oil gland cyst has burst on his backside

  17. Linda says

    I miss seeing Candace Olsen too. It’s such a shame. Even though her designs were more on the fancy side… they were Beautiful colors , etc. Is there any chance she may do another type show?

  18. carolyn Dickey says

    I REALLY miss the shows like Design on a Dime. Design to Sell, Sarah 101, I feel that there are far too many shows like House Hunters on HGTV right now. They need to make a change. Thank You, Ccarolyn

  19. Andrea says

    Candice tells all has gotten so far away from being a show about Design. The ‘problems’ that arise are insulting to the veiwer. I feel this show has sold out. Why do these home improvement/decorating shows
    Pretend like they are sitcoms???

  20. Sandra says

    I just want to say that I love Candice’s designs. There is no one out there today that can put a basement together better than her. Frankly I love all of her designs and I miss her on HGTV.

  21. Coree says

    I just miss Candice. I have no desire to pick her or her shows apart. I enjoyed every minute of them and if there was a little too much of this or that or not enough of something else, who cares she was fun to watch and does fabulous work. If she gets another show, my DVR is ready, willing and able and I can’t wait to press play.

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