Terry Morrow: Local 'Extreme Makeover' family meets UFC star on Florida adventure

Daniel Watson hugs his son Silas outside of the family's home which was chosen for renovation for the ABC show "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess, ©KNS/2011 // Buy this photo

Daniel Watson hugs his son Silas outside of the family's home which was chosen for renovation for the ABC show "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."

While hundreds of volunteers worked to give a Knoxville family a new abode for "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" in January, the Watsons — the recipients — were sent out of town on quite an adventure.

The ABC reality show sent the Watsons to Florida, where they met Ultimate Fighting Champion Jon "Bones" Jones, according to the network.

Daniel and Mandy Watson of Knoxville and their children went out of town so they couldn't see the work in progress. The Watsons knew "Extreme" was rebuilding their home at 2329 Robinson Road, but, as tradition with the show, the recipients are sent packing for a week and brought back for the show's big reveal.

Actress Jenny McCarthy was part of the on-air talent for the shoot here, acting as team leader. Host Ty Pennington was available for only part of the production as he was busy working on "The Revolution," his daytime series that was canceled during the summer.

Designers Paul DiMeo, Tracy Hutson, John Littlefield and Jillian Harris, along with Grace Construction and community volunteers, helped build the structure

The network has scheduled the local episode to run the night of the season finale of the network's No. 1 show "Dancing with the Stars." East Tennessee viewers can see it at 9 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 26, on WATE, Channel 6.

The Watsons run a non-profit to help low-income single mothers with housing. In January, local volunteers worked around seven days to give the Watsons and their three children a new home.

Crews worked around the clock to get the work done.

Five years ago, the Watsons created The Restoration House of East Tennessee, which provides single mothers housing at a local apartment complex. It also offers mentoring and advocacy to help women in such situations become self-sufficient. Restoration House is helping five single mothers and 11 children.

ABC must be putting faith in the show: By placing it after "Dancing with the Stars," a large audience will be exposed to the episode.

Terry Morrow may be reached at 865-342-6445 or morrowt@knoxville.com.

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