TV Eye: Getting Real

This weekend's Texas-set episode of 'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition' gets TV Eye teary-eyed

<i>Extreme Makeover: Home Edition</i>
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

It's no secret that I'm not a big fan of reality series, but this story got to me.

Seems the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition folks were in Texas late last year, and when it was all said and done, a couple from Salado, got a double-dose of do-gooding from the Extreme Makeover production and a contingent of Austin-based event specialists led by Caplan Miller Events.

See if this doesn't warm your cockles: When Army Staff Sgt. Patrick Zeigler returned from his second tour of duty in Iraq, he proposed to then-girlfriend Jessica Hansen. She said "yes," and the wedding plans began. But everything came to a halt on Nov. 5, 2009. Zeigler was one of the victims of the Fort Hood shooting that left 13 dead and 32 injured. Zeigler was shot four times, once in the head, and his prognosis was dire. Instead of wedding vows, Hansen began planning for a funeral. Miraculously, Zeigler survived and began the long rehabilitation process. The wedding was back on, too, and that's when the couple came to the attention of the folks at Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, who were understandably moved by their story. The couple was selected for a home makeover, but producers decided to go a step further: They wanted to plan an "extreme wedding" as well. The production company sent out tweets asking for wedding planner recommendations, and that's when Caplan Miller Events was found and tapped to stage the wedding. More than willing to take the challenge of planning and executing a wedding in 10 days, CME identified 15 other Austin-based vendors to join in the task. The nuptials took place in the backyard of the newly refurbished Zeigler-Hansen home, thanks to the reality series.

Take a moment, if you want.

See how it all comes together on the Zeigler-Hansen episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Sunday, Feb. 20, at 7pm on ABC.

A Tip of the Hat

There's something painfully ironic in that the passing of KUT and KLRU founder Bob Schenkkan last week coincided with the Republican-led push to slash all – that means, zero out – federal funding to public radio and television. The despotic and narrow-minded move flies in the face of what Schenkkan hoped to accomplish here in Austin, and now (thanks to the Internet) the world: to create a place where educational, commercial-free, thoughtful material can be heard above the more commercially driven rabble.

Public media, supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (which doles out the federal dollars), has been in conservatives' crosshairs before. But given the nature of the current political climate, in which extremism and bombastic rhetoric seem to have the edge, this is not the time to roll your eyes and look away.

To hear a very thorough tribute to Schenkkan, listen at www.kut.org/items/show/24042.

To learn why public broadcasting is a vital resource, go to www.170millionamericans.org. Get informed, contact your congressional representative, and tell your friends to talk to their representatives. Hey, if Schenkkan and a rickety transmitter can make something happen, you can too.

Blog Roll

Here are a few notable things I blogged about at the Picture in Picture blog (austinchronicle.com/pip) that you might want to get the deets on:

Reality TV casting calls: One show is looking for female storytellers/bloggers/filmmakers, the other for chefs of both the sweet and savory varieties to cast Bravo's Top Chef and Top Chef: Just Desserts.

The Austin Film Festival announced earlier this week that Hart Hanson (Bones) will be the recipient of this year's Outstanding Television Writer Award. Bones star David Boreanaz will travel to Austin to present Hanson his award at the AFF awards luncheon.

The geeks are coming! The geeks are coming! Actually, the national organization Geeks Who Drink has a regular presence at a number of Austin-area pubs, doing what they do best: hosting pub trivia quizzes for fun and a little cash prize. Seinfeld is the subject of the next big Geeks Who Drink trivia showdown on Feb. 23.

I didn't blog about this, but I just found out that The Pee-wee Herman Show's Paul Reubens is coming to the South by Southwest Film Festival. I die.

As always, stay tuned.


TV Eye is now on Facebook and on Twitter @ChronicleTVEye.

E-mail Belinda Acosta at tveye@austinchronicle.com.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Patrick Zeigler, Jessica Hansen, Ty Pennington, Bob Schenkkan, 170millionamericans.org, KLRU, KUT, Top Chef, Hart Hanson, Bones, David Boreanaz, Geeks Who Drink, Pee-wee Herman

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