Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Hosted by famed New York fashion designer Robert Verdi, the daytime cable series Surprise by Design was described by its emcee as "Reality TV Meets Martha Stewart," but was more along the lines of the popular cable "makeover" series Trading Spaces. On each episode, a homeowner was inveigled to briefly leave his house by five friends and/or family members. During the subject's absence, the clever quintet would band together to redecorate his domicile as a surprise. The fun began when the homeowner returned and made his assessment (which was not always positive). Telecast twice daily, Surprise by Design debuted September 3, 2002.