The Watchman: Pennington Ready to ‘Rock’ on HGTV, Talking About My ‘Genera+ion’

Rock the Block season 2
‘Rock the Block’ (Image credit: HGTV)

Season two of Rock the Block is on HGTV March 8. Ty Pennington hosts the home-makeover show, which sees design experts work on identical houses, seeing which one can most maximize the value. The winner gets bragging rights and a street named for them. 

Two-person teams are a new wrinkle. “Two people work together, trying to create one cohesive design,” Pennington said. “That works sometimes, and sometimes it doesn’t.”

Contestants include Mike Holmes (Holmes on Homes), Alison Victoria (Windy City Rehab) and Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent (Nate and Jeremiah: Save My House). “It’s great to see how these artists go through their process of design,” said Pennington. 

Most every contestant is “in over their heads” at some point, according to the host. He added that the “chaos” sometimes gets cut out of design shows. Not so much on this one. “On Rock the Block, you see the good, the bad, the ugly,” Pennington said. 

Pennington previously hosted Trading Spaces and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. He doesn’t mind adding a little chaos to the Rock the Block mix. Said Pennington, “I love throwing wrenches and surprises into their plans.”


Genera+ion (Image credit: HBO Max)

Genera+ion begins on HBO Max March 11. The dramedy comes from 19-year-old Zelda Barnz and her father, Daniel, who executive produce along with her father, Frank and funny, the series is about a group of high schoolers exploring modern sexuality. 

Zelda took to writing as a small child. She was obsessed with fairies as a young child, her fathers said, and would fill large notebooks with what they called “fairy narratives.” 

One can’t help but wonder if there was some awkwardness when Zelda shared her more risque Genera+ion scripts. “It was strange discussing some of the topics in our show at first,” she said, “but it got to the point where it was, if I want this show to be everything I envision, I really need to be honest.”

Added Daniel Barnz, “Sometimes I’m still blushing really hard.”

Zelda considers Freaks and Geeks, and the way “it captures teen angst but also joy,” an influence. She also mentions Fleabag, while her fathers toss in Friday Night Lights

The trio aims for authentic queer representation in the show. “Their queerness is a big part of who they are, but that’s not all of who they are,” Zelda said of her characters. “They have personalities beside their queerness.”

Lena Dunham, a fan of Daniel and Ben’s film Cake, is an executive producer. Zelda called her “an amazing mentor.” 

Added Ben: “We started developing this and it felt very much in her wheelhouse. So we approached her [Dunham] and it all took off from there.” 

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.