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HGTV Boss Says No to New ‘Fixer Upper': ‘What Made the Show Special Was Chip and Jo’

TCA 2018: ”I don’t see that we would ever make it with someone else,“ Kathleen Finch tells TheWrap

HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” wrapped its five-season run in April, and though HGTV boss Kathleen Finch certainly misses Chip and Joanna Gaines (and their Nielsen TV ratings), don’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. “I don’t see that we would ever make it with someone else.”

Please take zero offense to that, Tarek and Christina El Moussa, who have seen their own HGTV show “Flip or Flop” spun off five times. Solid joke and comparison by us, as “Fixer Upper” was the only HGTV show with better ratings than “Flip or Flop.”

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 Gaines’ recently had 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. “It was just too much for them to handle.”

Finch sees the conclusion of “Fixer Upper” as a chance for something new to break out, pointing to rookies such as “Restored by the Fords.”

“We have got so much great talent coming on board at HGTV,” she said. “We’re in a great place.”

Speaking of those five “Flip or Flop” spinoffs, Finch gave her opinion on why the first four — Las Vegas, Ft. Worth, Atlanta and Nashville — haven’t performed at the level as the original, in terms of Nielsen ratings. The fifth spinoff, in Chicago, will premiere later this year.

“Part of it depends on what market they’re in,” she said. “I do think a lot of it has to do with the projects that they flip.” She added that a more complicated project leads to more interest. “It does add to the storytelling if the flips are a little more complicated.”

The one part that HGTV can never really know until the show premieres, is just how well the couple will connect to viewers. Finch added a bit about what they look for when they’re deciding which couples to lead one of their spinoffs.

“We don’t follow them in the ‘Flip or Flop’ franchise unless they’re flipping enough homes to make a series, because most of the flips we don’t put on TV,” she explained. “We are going after couples that really do this as a big business.”