Abby West
January 18, 2008 AT 05:00 AM EST

Paige Davis’ television comeback

Three years after being evicted from TLC’s Trading Spaces, host Paige Davis returns (premieres Jan. 26 at 10 p.m.; regular slot Saturdays at 9 p.m.) to the interior design show that made her a household name. So what persuaded perky Paige to come home again?

New Landlords
When her agent first mentioned that TLC wanted her back after opting for a hostless format in 2005, ”I laughed and actually hung up the phone,” says Davis, 38. But after hearing that there were new execs at the network, ”I was like, ‘Oh, I’m listening, I guess.”’

Extreme Makeover
Departed designers Doug Wilson and Hildi Santo Tomás will return with her, and the homeowner swaps will be driven more by personality than by proximity (like rival cheerleaders taking on each other’s rooms). ”It’s nice to open it up a little bit more so that the traders have more of a story,” she says. ”It adds a little color and pepper to the trade.”

Time Share
Spaces will shoot no more than 26 episodes a season, down from about 70 when she left. That means Davis will have plenty of time to pursue stage work (she’s starred in Chicago on Broadway) while still getting valuable TV exposure. ”I disappeared from my fans for a while, so it was great to know I would be back on television.” It’s all about location, location, location.

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