Get ready to decorate with more shiplap in 2021.
Joanna and Chip Gaines, the pair of home improvement pros who hosted “Fixer Upper” for five seasons on HGTV until 2018, are reviving the popular series — this time for their new venture, the forthcoming Magnolia Network, which will replace existing cabler DIY Network early next year. Magnolia is a joint venture between the Gaines and Discovery, Inc.
The couple came to the decision just a few weeks ago after realizing how much they missed the show, Magnolia Network president Allison Page tells Variety. Expect between six and 10 episodes of the new season of “Fixer Upper,” which will continue to be based in Waco, Texas. The Gaines’ production company Blind Nil is producing the reboot; the show will be available on the new network upon launch.
“The day we wrapped our final episode of ‘Fixer Upper,’ we really believed it was a chapter closed,” said the Gaines in a release. “We knew we needed a break and a moment to catch our breath. But we also knew we weren’t done dreaming about ways to make old things new again. These past few years, we’ve continued tackling renovations and projects, doing the work we’re passionate about, but I don’t think either of us anticipated how the show would become such a permanent fixture in our hearts. We’ve missed sharing the stories of these families and their homes with you, and we’re excited to do that again very soon!”
Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, it is unclear when exactly the show will go back into production. But Discovery has a “comprehensive plan” and a “pretty rigorous process” for creating a safe work environment, said Page, adding that “Fixer Upper” doesn’t require a large crew or travel, given that it takes place in the Gaines’ hometown.
Magnolia Network also announced two new original series joining its slate: an untitled interior-design show hosted by Brian Patrick Flynn, and “Self Employed” with entrepreneur Jonathan Morris. The latter series will see Morris traveling across the U.S. to meet small-business owners and “share stories of unwavering resilience, insatiable ambition and the winding roads they’ve traveled to successfully build their dream jobs.”
Even in a period of Peak TV, there is evidence that Chip and Jo will be able to draw their fans over to their rebranded cable network. A four-hour preview of Magnolia Network, which aired on DIY, brought in over 2.5 million viewers and a 0.38 rating among viewers aged 25-34 — DIY’s highest-rated day ever. The Gaines could serve to boost DIY’s existing audience, which in 2017 had 58 million total cable subscribers vs. HGTV’s 91 million. “Fixer Upper,” while on HGTV, attracted an average of 19.6 million viewers a week to its fifth season.
Magnolia Network’s previously announced slate includes the series “Growing Floret,” “Home on the Road with JOHNNYSWIM,” “deVOL Kitchens” (formerly “Bespoke Kitchens”), “Family Dinner,” “Restoration Road with Clint Harp,” “The Fieldhouse,” “Super
Dad,” “Home Work,” “The Lost Kitchen” and “Inn the Works.”
Among the 14 original series that are in production, some are in edits and close to being completed, said Page. (There are another 22 originals in development.) With some programs, such as “deVOL Kitchens,” some re-casting has to be done, given changes in renovation plans. Other series, such as “The Lost Kitchen,” includes filming of COVID-19-era innovations like drive-through farmers’ markets and dining pods.
The pandemic will be woven into the narrative of a number of these shows, given their documentary-style storytelling, said Page. But even when Magnolia Network launches in early 2021, when the current public health crisis has hopefully subsided, she expects those themes — of shifting life plans, finding hope, and rebuilding — to strike a chord with viewers.
“Those are universal and timeless themes that I think will always resonate,” she said.