Home Sweet Home: NBC Orders Ava DuVernay's Unscripted Family Social Experiment Series on Race, Religion, Economics and Gender

Ava DuVernay
Ava DuVernay
Photo: Adam Burrell

Ava DuVernay and her arts advocacy collective ARRAY has another project in the works—and this time they’re diving into reality TV. Or since she is a documentarian, perhaps “docu-series” fits better here.

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NBC has ordered 10 hour-long episodes of an upcoming unscripted family social experience series called Home Sweet Home, which will be produced by Warner Horizon Unscripted Television and ARRAY Filmworks. This will be DuVernay’s first primetime unscripted project.

The scoop, from NBC Universal’s press release sent to The Root:

Each episode of Home Sweet Home taps two families who lead very different lives for a life-changing experience through this full-immersion cultural experiment. The show chronicles the fierce curiosity and sense of adventure it takes to walk a mile in another person’s shoes by challenging racial, religious, economic, geographic, gender and identity assumptions as participants exchange homes for a week and experience the life of someone unlike them in intimate and dynamic ways.

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So, basically it’s giving me Trading Spouses or Wife Swap vibes, only it’ll specifically touch on social issues. Since we always have these discussions about people checking their family members in regards to racism, sexism, homophobia and other forms of bigotry, this series is especially timely. And then there’s the obvious: We’re living in an administration headed by a Goya papaya pudding president.

“The idea for Home Sweet Home came to me during the strange and important times we’re all experiencing. The premise is that we are farther apart than ever, yet bound by what we have in common–concerns with health, safety, justice and community. These notions manifest in each of us in different ways, but nowhere more striking than in the privacy of our own homes,” DuVernay said in a statement. Adding, “I’m thrilled that NBC and Warner Horizon embraced the challenge of this moment to celebrate the specificity of our differences as we discover the many beautiful things that we have in common.”

“We are honored to partner with Ava for the first time to bring ‘Home Sweet Home’ to life at NBC,” Meredith Ahr, president of Alternative and Reality Group, NBC Entertainment, said in a statement. “Led by Ava’s powerful and hopeful creative vision, these stories will reveal genuine moments of change that we hope will spark thought-provoking conversations and encourage compassion, empathy and understanding.”

NBC Universal is having a big week, as the company recently launched its streaming platform, Peacock.

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“Ava is an extraordinarily gifted and thoughtful storyteller,” Mike Darnell, president of Warner Bros. Unscripted & Alternative Television, said. “This life-changing journey promises to be a rich experience affording families an opportunity to see life through a new lens.”

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We don’t know the premiere date yet, but we’ll keep an eye out for the trailer!

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.

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DISCUSSION

Each episode of Home Sweet Home taps two families who lead very different lives for a life-changing experience through this full-immersion cultural experiment.

Another reality show trying to teach empathy?

This will be DuVernay’s first primetime unscripted project.

Ava DuVernay? Let me set the DVR.