Extreme Makeover was a controversial reality TV show launched in 2002 on the ABC television network. The show followed the lives of individuals who volunteered to receive extreme physical makeovers in the form of severe plastic surgeries, intense exercise regimes, and hair and wardrobe improvements. The show was hosted by stylist Sam Saboura and brought in a diverse team of plastic surgeons, dermatologists, eye surgeons, dentists, nutritionists and trainers to facilitate each candidate’s transformation.
The big reveal of each episode occurred when the transformed individuals were finally able to meet face to face with family and loved ones who had not seen the individuals since the start of the transformation process, which often times spanned more than six months. Later updates on contestant were also included in the show to track the lives and progress of the show’s transformed individuals.
Extreme Makeover served as the spinoff launch for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, a popular home renovation show in which builders and celebrities pitch in to provide dream homes for worthy contestants. However unlike Extreme Makeover, the Home Edition has continued to dominate the ABC Network in recent years. Extreme Makeover: Wedding was also introduced as an additional spin off idea, though the potential television show was only introduced to the network in a single pilot episode and never aired again.
Extreme Makeover received much criticism as it relied on potentially harmful plastic surgeries to correct body imperfections that could have otherwise been achieved through rigid diet and exercise. Due to television airing times and schedules, many of the surgeries and physical fitness regimes were also criticized as not allowing enough recovery time for each contestant to fully achieve their aesthetic goals in a safe and healthy manner. Extreme Makeover also underwent a lawsuit from the family of a former contestant who was dropped from the show, suffered severe emotional distress and subsequently took her own life. The legal battle waged for over a year and was settled for an undisclosed amount of money.