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Vern Granger and family

KNOXVILLE — When University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Undergraduate Admissions Director Vern Granger moved to town and went house hunting, HGTV’s popular show “House Hunters” went along.

The show featuring Granger and his family will air at 10 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 15. HGTV airs on Comcast Channel 28.

Granger, who began working at UT in September 2009, said his realtor recommended him for the show.

“We got an email back from producers asking if we were interested,” he said. Before they were accepted, though, they had to fill out a questionnaire and film their own video audition.

HGTV notified them in January 2010 that the show wanted them; filming commenced in February.

“The most surprising part was how much work went into it for a 20-minute show,” Granger said. “They did four days of taping on the front end and then came back three weeks later to do the update show.” Each “shoot” lasted five to six hours.

The twist in the show: the family had been living in Laurel Residence Hall while they were looking for a house.

Here’s how “House Hunters” promotes the episode featuring the Grangers: “Vern just started working at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. He loves his new job, but isn’t crazy about his current living situation. Vern and his wife and daughter are all staying in a campus residence hall that is also sorority housing at the university. Aside from the space being too small, Vern and his wife, Katherine, want to find a place more suitable for a family. They’re hoping to find a home with a large kitchen and a guest room for Katherine’s family to stay in when they visit from China. Additionally, they’d like a house that meets Katherine’s feng shui requirements. Their realtor will take them to several homes in the Knoxville area, but the real challenge is finding one that both Vern and Katherine agree on.”

The Grangers looked at three houses before they made their choice.

One of the houses — the smallest house and least expensive option — was off Northshore Drive. It had two stories and a finished basement, and it was thoroughly wired for entertainment systems.

The second house — with a middle-of-the-road price tag — was a two-story house in the Cedar Bluff area. It featured an unfinished basement, hardwood floors throughout, a patio and a screened-deck in Cedar Bluff.

The third house — the most expensive option — was off Middlebrook Pike. Also a two-story house, it was the closest to the UT campus and, Granger said, “the architecture had some cool features.”

So which one did the Granger family choose?

You’ll have to tune in to find out.

Here are some hints: Granger said the choice wasn’t difficult, and features were more of a deciding factor than money.

Granger said his wife enjoyed the experience, as did his daughter, Caroline, 5. “She loved being interviewed and having the camera on her.”

Granger admits that he, too, enjoyed his stint as a TV star.

“Oh, yeah, it was a lot of fun,” he said, joking that he’s already contemplating his next venture.

“Maybe ‘Survivor’ or ‘Jersey Shore,'” he quipped.

C O N T A C T :

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034, amy.blakely@utk.edu)