Goldsboro News Argus TV Showtime
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2 • December 21 - 27, 2013 • Goldsboro News Argus Cover story By Kyla Brewer TV Media I n a classic holiday movie moment, Clark W. Griswold (Chevy Chase, "Saturday Night Live," "Community") stands proudly in his front yard, ready to dazzle his loved ones with the Christmas lights and decorations strewn all over his house in "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" (1989). Unfortunately, things don't exactly work out for the bumbling Clark — at least not at first. However, some people are real pros when it comes to such holiday displays, and a new series shines a light on their efforts. Michael Moloney and Sabrina Soto (both of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" fame) serve as judges in ABC's "The Great Christmas Light Fight," airing Monday, Dec. 23. In the series, families from across America go to extreme lengths to decorate their homes for the holidays in the hopes of walking away with a whopping $50,000 prize. It's a competition like no other, and 20 families were chosen for the inaugural season based on their history of incredible lights, decorations and even choreography. Each episode features four families who are already known in their communities for pulling out all the stops when it comes to holiday decorating. Featuring thousands of lights, which can take hundreds of hours to put up, these decorations truly go above and beyond. Thus far, many of the families have probably done it for bragging rights, but with $50,000 on the line thanks to the ABC series, the stakes are now even higher. They were given just 21 days to transform their homes and impress the judges, who traveled from home to home in November. Producers searched far and wide to find holiday decorating enthusiasts. The first of this week's back-to-back episodes features families that span the country, including the Hyatts from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., the Downs family from Norman, Okla., the Satterwhites from Mechanicsville, Va., and the Paradowskis from Decatur, Ga. The following episode, which also serves as the season finale, takes viewers from Lagrangeville, N.Y., to visit the Gay family's light display, to West Reading, Pa., where the Macrinas hope their decorations will win the prize. They'll face competiMichael Moloney, Michelle Blount and Andrew Blount as seen in "The Great Christmas Light Fight" tion from the Kowalczyk family of Tinley Park, Ill., and the Mize family from sunny California's San Rafael. Moloney and Soto will have their work cut out for them as they try to determine the weekly winners of this unique competition, but each judge brings a wealth of experience and an eye for beauty to the table. While many viewers will recognize both of the TV personalities from their work on "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," they are each highly respected designers in their own right. Moloney came into the world of interior design by way of the fashion industry. After a decade in fashion, he opened two prominent home design stores in California, which feature vintage treasures, giftware and more. His Maison Luxe customers include such celebs as Goldie Hawn, Candace Bergen and Rachel Hunter. He's also used his design skills on projects for The Walt Disney Company, the NFL and Oral-B. In addition to his work on ABC's hit home make- Offering simplicity and lower costs, giving families the ability to fulfill their wishes. 19DMH0913J Don't Assume You Can't B/Evergreen's Memorial Afford It! BURIAL vs. CREMATION 3 x 2" Let us show you that burial can be as affordable as cremation 919-739-0077 0 3888 Hwy. 70 W. Goldsboro www.evergreenmemorialservice.com (Next to Musgrave Equipment) over show and now "The Great Christmas Light Fight," Moloney has appeared in "Good Morning America," "The View" and "EXTRA!" Soto has some experience in judging reality TV shows. She was recently one of the featured judges in Season 8 of "HGTV Star." A highly sought after designer and TV personality, the stunning Soto has extended her reach from home decor and design to beauty, food and fashion. She's a LEEDcertified designer and licensed real estate agent agent and has appeared on "The High Low Project," "The Today Show," "The Chew," "The View" and more. The lifestyle guru is also serving as Target's Style Expert for Home, making her a fitting choice to judge the esthetics of holiday decorations. For those who are happy to string a few lights on a tree and display some twinklers in the window, it may seem like the families on "The Great Christmas Light Fight" are going overboard — and perhaps they are. But they aren't the only ones. Such demonstrations of holiday decorating prowess have become very popular, not just in the U.S., but also around the world. In fact, despite America's penchant for Christmas lights, you'd have to travel all the way Down Under to witness the current record holders' display. Recently, Guinness World Records official Chris Sheedy confirmed that the Richards family of Canberra had reclaimed their record by stringing their property with 502,165 twinkling bulbs. It appears the Gay family of Lagrangeville briefly bumped the Richards off the World Records list with last year's display, which included almost 350,000 lights. However, the Australians seem to have them beat this time around with enough lights to stretch more than 30 miles (48 km), and took weeks to install.