Pie Town/L.A.’s two Chicago HGTV home makeover series start shooting 26 episodes in mid-August

Pie Town Productions of L.A. swings into production of two Chicago-set home HGTV makeover series in mid-August. Each 26-week series will tape three shows a month over the next 11 months.

“Design on a Dime” kicks off Aug. 15, followed by “Designed to Sell” on Aug. 19. The first episodes could air by the end of the year.

“Design on a Dime’s” first episode takes place in a Bronzeville brownstone where one room will be redecorated on a maximum budget of $1,000.

Brice Cooper is host and lead designer on “Design on a Dime.” He works with designer/carpenter Ali Azhar and design coordinator Kelly Edwards from L.A.

First up for “Designed to Sell” is a 1920s Northwest Side frame house to be fixed up for potential sale on a maximum budget of $2,000.

Belma Johnson and designer Monica Pedersen host “Designed to Sell.” Real estate experts Kathy Quaid and Bethany Souza start the transformation process by determining changes that will enhance a sale. Enter Pederson to design and two carpenters, Jess Alba and Robert North, to execute the changes. When done, the realtors show prospective buyers through the house.

Supervising producers on both shows are old hands at television shows. “Designed on a Dime’s” Sharon Barrett produced for Kurtis Productions for many years, and “Designed to Sell’s” Jim Lichtensten spent 18 years as Chicago producer for “The Today Show.”

O’Connor Casting put in two months auditioning more than 100 actors for host roles.

Both shows begin with scouting of possible makeover locations. Pictures are pre-selected by the supervising producers and sent to Pie Town’s L.A. designers for final choices.

“Designed to Sell” producer/directors are Jennifer Bernardi and Rick Szekely, both with reality, medical and documentary backgrounds. Segment producers are Melissa Cuttone from CLTV and Anna Butler from “The Jerry Springer Show.” Joy Williams is associate producer.

“Design on a Dime’s” producer/directors are Ken Arkow and Todd Pflughoeft and Jill Hirschman is segment producer.

Pie Town Productions was founded by executive producer Jennifer Davidson and production supervisor Tara Sandler in 1995. Third partner Scott Templeton joined in 1997.

Pie Town has produced more than 1,600 episodes for 19 series, 21 specials and one feature doc for HGTV, VH1, Country Music Television, MTV, A&E, The Food Network and Paramount Domestic Television.

Local production offices are at 1438 W. Kinzie (where Red Moon and producer David Manilow also are located); phone, 312/229-1400.