Vern Yip can’t terrorize any more ‘Design Stars’

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If you’ve been missing one of Atlanta’s favorite design gays on your TV of late, it may be because HGTV finally cut the belabored “Design Star” and Vern Yip with it. But don't worry: Our guy is plenty busy.

So says an update from AJC Radio-TV guru Rodney Ho. Like us, Ho kept waiting for the show to recreate its Season 1 magic when David Bromstad won his own show and became one of the network’s most bankable stars. Since then, the most fun has been Yip playing the Simon Cowell bitchy role on the judges panel.

Other than an occasional sharp barb from HGTV Goddess of the Sky Blue-and-Beige Dummy Curtain Panel Candace Olsen, the otherwise friendly-seeming gay-dad-about-town was a sure bet to make contestants cower, shake and with any luck for viewers, cry.

While the network continues to try and reinvent itself with four good shows and a hundred programs that you’d only watch at 3 a.m. if drunk, Ho offers the inside scoop on the network finally letting go of its original and long-soggy reality competition and the future of its Head Design Gay.

[Yip] was the one continuous link on the show, which aired from 2006 to 2013.

“Of course, I’m disappointed because I’ve been with the show since the beginning. I’ve really enjoyed being part of it,” Yip said. “That’s part of life. It’s about changes and change is not always bad.”

He said the ratings of the show were still pretty strong by last year.

The ratings part is just complete BS, but it’s not unexpected. For one thing, he's defended it before. For another, celebrities might as well spin these things than gripe and come off like sore losers. Ho reveals the numbers that tell the real story: Last season drew than half of its audience peak, and the Season 1 charm never made a comeback.

David Bromstad from season one, much like Guy Fieri for the Food Network and Kelly Clarkson on “American Idol,” was by far the breakout star from the show. He was even a mentor for the last two seasons of “HGTV Star.” Emily Henderson (season 5 winner) and Meg Caswell(season 6 winner) have big online followings and Caswell writes a column for the HGTV magazine (as does Yip.)

Told ya. Anyway, Yip is still a prolific local designer, and HGTV has found a stop-gap special to work him into their lineup at least temporarily, Ho says.

Yip, who lives in Atlanta with his partner [Wag-a-Lot CEO Craig Koch, photo] and two young children, has a special coming up July 12 at 2 p.m. on HGTV where viewers will get to see him build a beach house in Rosemary Beach, Fla. “You get to watch a piece of land turn into a completely finished product.” It’s called “Live in Vern’s House” and includes a unique opportunity for an HGTV super fan. Take a guess based on the title.

Yip is also creating more interiors products for HSN. His past failings as a design-show host – isn’t that ironic? – don't bode well for a return to that format, but he’s reportedly pitching a stream of new TV projects that so far have garnered no bites from networks. We hope it works out; we kind of love the gay baby daddy. Even if he hates our dining room.

[AJC | Modern Luxury]

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