Elizabethton enters running for HGTV town makeover show


ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) – Out of thousands of the American towns that applied for the singular spot in HGTV’s new town renovation show, a local photographer hopes Elizabethton makes the cut.

Katie Emery and her family moved to Elizabethton five years ago from Augusta, Georgia. Her father accepted a position as the pastor at First Christian Church, and Emery said she soon found herself swept up in small-town charm.

“Elizabethton is something very special and very unique to us,” Emery said. “I love the small-town culture and there’s so much history and so many beautiful, architectural buildings that could really use some love, and I think it could really inspire the creators at HGTV.”

HGTV encouraged applicants to show what makes their town unique.

‘Home Town Takeover,’ a spinoff show of Ben and Erin Napier’s ‘Home Town’ home renovation series, put out the call for American towns to send their stories for consideration for a full-town makeover.

Production is considering towns with fewer than 40,000 residents for the project, slated to air in 2021. Emery said when she found out about the contest, she only had a few weeks to assemble a submission tape.

Emery learned about the show on social media about a month ago. With the deadline for submission in just two weeks, she began working to tell Elizabethton’s story through photos and videoes.

In a mad dash to submit the application, she said the website crashed the night of the deadline. She managed to submit the video the night of the deadline.

Elizabethton may have been the final town submitted, she said with a laugh.

“I would love for them to come and see what their vision is for Elizabethton because I know a lot of people have been here for a long time, and I would just love somebody with fresh eyes to see what the potential could be,” she said.

The Town of Abingdon announced their application for the show on Facebook last week. A search of ‘Home Town Takeover’ returns dozens of articles of small towns across America vying for the spot on the show.

For her submission, Emery said she focused on the historic charm Elizabethton has to offer.

“I definitely think the Bonnie Kate is something that could use some love,” Emery said. “I know that they have already been working on the renovations, but I’d love to see HGTV pour into that and really give the front of it a facelift I know they’ve kind of been working from the inside out, so I’d love to see that be a point of social interaction again in Elizabethton.”

It will be months before Emery hears any news – the studio will review thousands of submissions over the next few months. A winner will be selected for the pilot six-episode series, and shooting will begin in 2021.

Even if Elizabethton doesn’t make the cut, Emery said she hopes to see the show thrive to open the door for more small-town renovations in the future.

“We’re very excited and very hopeful that HGTV will pick us, I think we have a ton of potential, and we’re already dealing with something that’s so beautiful so we can only really make it better from here,” she said.

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