Former “Fixer Upper” stars Chip and Joanna Gaines are partnering with Discovery Inc. to launch their own TV network. The couple first shared the news on Friday’s “Tonight Show.”
“We signed a nondisclosure. And it said, ‘You can tell your mother, but that’s it.’ So, Mom, I just wanted to make a quick announcement: We are coming back to television,” Chip told Jimmy Fallon when the NBC host asked if the ex-HGTV darlings would ever return to TV.
Adding that he and his wife, Joanna, worked the plan out with Discovery chief David Zaslav directly, Chip said their comeback is “gonna be filmed a lot in Waco, Texas,” their hometown and the setting of “Fixer Upper,” which was HGTV’s top-rated series for many years.
Discovery backed the couple’s news Saturday in this statement to TheWrap: “Discovery is thrilled to confirm that we are in exclusive talks with Chip and Joanna Gaines. The Gaineses are exceptional people, true authentic storytellers and creative visionaries who will nourish millions of people with quality, family-friendly programming accessible on a 24/7 network and across all screens. Stay tuned…working out the final details…more to come soon!”
The way cable TV generally works, Discovery will either have to buy another existing network or rebrand one of its own. Logically, the latter is the most likely play here. After acquiring Scripps earlier this year, Discovery is now the proud home of 19 cable channels: Discovery, HGTV, Food Network, TLC, ID, OWN, Animal Planet, Travel Channel, Velocity, Science Channel, DIY, Cooking Channel, Discovery Family, American Heroes Channel, Destination America, Discovery Life, Great American Country, and Spanish-language channels Discovery en Espanol and Familia Discovery.
Now, it’s safe to say the Discovery, TLC, Food Network, Animal Planet and HGTV brands are going nowhere. And Discovery also seems especially dedicated to Travel Channel and ID. Discovery bought a majority stake in Oprah’s OWN late last year.
When reached by TheWrap, a Discovery spokeswoman declined to comment on how exactly it will alter the cable landscape to accommodate the Gaines-focused network.
A few months after HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” wrapped its five-season run in April, network boss Kathleen Finch told TheWrap that although she certainly misses the Gaineses (and their Nielsen TV ratings), fans shouldn’t expect another version of the home-updating series with a new couple.
“What made the show special was Chip and Jo,” Finch told TheWrap. during the Television Critics Association press tour in July. “I don’t see that we would ever make it with someone else.”
Finch, who heads up HGTV — among other networks — as chief lifestyle brands officer for Discovery Inc., expanded upon the couple’s decision to walk away from their hit series after the successful run.
“Obviously, we didn’t want them to go because we love them,” she said, but added that the decision was theirs and theirs alone. “We’re never going to stand in the way of talent… we understand that when family calls we don’t want anybody to be unhappy in their job.”
Finch pointed out that the Gaineses recently welcomed their fifth child, and with everything the duo has to juggle — between the show, furniture line, their construction, design, publishing and even cupcake businesses — it wasn’t too much of a surprise to her that they walked away from the series. “It was just too much for them to handle.”