Chip and Joanna Gaines, hosts of the wildly popular home improvement TV show Fixer Upper, announced a new season of the Waco, Texas-set program would kick off in 2021—on their own broadcast network—as their lifestyle empire, which comprises of book deals, restaurants, retail shops and a Target home goods line, shows no signs of slowing down.
Joanna and Chip Gaines.
In a blog post, Chip Gaines wrote, “It wasn’t more than a few weeks ago that we first talked about returning to the show. I mentioned it to Jo, fully expecting her to tell me I was crazy. But instead, in a real sincere way, she told me she’d been missing it too.”
The newest season will appear on the Magnolia Network, a joint venture between the couple and Discovery (which also owns HGTV, Fixer Upper’s original home).
The Gaineses stopped filming Fixer Upper in 2017, but in April 2019, Discovery announced its DIY network would be rebranded for a media company launched by the couple.
The return of Fixer Upper came two weeks after a six-store expansion of their Waco-based Magnolia lifestyle brand was announced, which also contains two restaurants, a coffee shop and two retail stores.
The Magnolia business empire also includes a real estate company and three Waco vacation rentals, along with several New York Times-bestselling books and home goods collaborations with Target and Anthropologie, though the pandemic has led to a furloughs of an undisclosed number of their 500 employees, according to the New York Times.
“I think we all have a calling for our lives. Jo and I feel called to be bridge builders, meaning we want to help initiate conversations between people that think differently from one another,” Chip Gaines told Forbes in 2017. “In no way does that mean we all have to agree, but there’s a distinct difference between disagreement and hate.”
1.7 million. That’s how many tourists flocked to Waco in the first half of 2018, according to the New York Times.
The Gaineses teamed up to revamp Waco homes around 2003, the same year they opened their first Waco store. Their business grew from there and continued expanding with the 2013 premiere of Fixer Upper. The success of Magnolia and Fixer Upper hasn’t been all smiles, shiplap (the wooden planking made eponymous by Joanna) and industrial boho chic, however. In 2016, Buzzfeed published a story on Antioch Community Church, where the Gaineses were congregants. Pastor Jimmy Siebert has told congregants that he believes “homosexuality is a sin,” and that business owners should be willing to reject deals or lose their companies in their rejection of LGBTQ people. HGTV released a statement after saying they didn’t discriminate against LGBTQ people in their programming (although Fixer Upper has never featured a gay couple). Several months later Chip Gaines responded with a blog post: “We care about you for the simple fact that you are a person, our neighbor on planet earth. It’s not about what color your skin is, how much money you have in the bank, your political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender, nationality or faith,” he wrote. Some legal troubles have also befallen the Gainses. In 2017, the couple paid $40,000 in fines to the Environmental Protection Agency to settle lead paint violations. Most recently, in February, a Waco judge threw out a lawsuit against Chip Gaines from his former real estate partners that alleged Chip bought them out of the business right before Fixer Upper premiered on HGTV because he knew it would be a success, and therefore cut them off from the profits. A lawyer representing Gaines maintained no wrongdoing on his part.
For Joanna Gaines, Home Is the Heart of a Food and Design Empire (New York Times)