Following the debut of Fixer Upper on HGTV back in 2013, it didn’t take long for Chip and Joanna Gaines to find themselves among the most popular personalities on the network. But then, after five successful seasons during which the couple built their Magnolia Market into a wildly popular lifestyle brand, they announced they were walking away from the show (via People).
As it turned out, the end of Fixer Upper was actually a new beginning, opening the door for the Gaines to launch their very own television network. This new TV entity would operate under the corporate banner of Discovery, the media company behind Discovery Channel, HGTV, Food Network, Animal Planet, and many others. In a 2019 press release, Discovery announced it had entered into an agreement with the couple to create a “multiplatform media company,” which would “comprise a linear television network and TV Everywhere app.”
That venture was later given a name: Magnolia Network, featuring an array of new programming, all reflecting the values and ideals underlying Chip and Joanna’s wildly successful brand. There’s a lot to learn about their exciting new venture, so read on to discover the truth about Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Network.
The launch of Magnolia Network didn't go as scheduled
In Discovery’s original announcement, Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Network was expected to launch in the summer of 2020. However, as ABC News reported in January of that year, that launch date was then pushed back to October. Plans were on track for that to happen until a certain worldwide pandemic reared its contagious head, shutting down film and TV production across the board — including programming that would form the basis of the new Magnolia Network.
That April, Deadline confirmed that the pandemic led Discovery to once again delay the launch of Magnolia Network, forcing fans of Chip and Joanna to wait even longer. However, despite the delay, Discovery softened the blow by sharing a four-hour special that would serve as a sneak peek at some of the programming that had already been produced prior to the pandemic. Titled Magnolia Presents: A Look Back & A Look Ahead, the special featured a retrospective on Fixer Upper, as well as previews of 10 of the network’s upcoming shows.
In a statement, Chip and Joanna revealed the launch would be happening eventually, but not “until we can safely resume production.”
Joanna Gaines is hosting a cooking show on Magnolia Network
In November 2019, The Wrap reported that Joanna Gaines would be heading into the kitchen with her own cooking show for Magnolia Network. Details on the show, however, didn’t emerge until much later, when fans got their first look at this new series in a trailer posted on YouTube. In addition to featuring clips of Joanna cooking, the trailer for the series — aptly titled Magnolia Table with Joanna Gaines – also showcased its fabulous set: a historic grist mill built in the 1800s that Joanna and Chip Gaines meticulously renovated.
As Architectural Digest reported, Joanna took fans on a virtual tour of the space via Instagram Live. According to Joanna, she and Chip had admired the mill for years whenever they’d drive past it. When the mill came on the market, they snapped it up, planing to give it a Fixer Upper reno and transform the place into a bed and breakfast. Partway through the reno, however, Joanna had an epiphany when she realized the mill should become the set of her new cooking show. “Filming at home is already a little hard,” she explained. “This space was perfect.”
Fixer Upper, the show that started it all, is being rebooted for Magnolia Network
Would Chip and Joanna Gaines actually launch their own Magnolia Network without reviving Fixer Upper? That would seem outlandish, yet none of the various announcements and updates about the network mentioned the couple returning to the show that made them household names.
Or at least, that was the case until a brief promo video was posted on YouTube in August 2020. In the clip, Chip is driving Joanna to a mystery location, refusing to tell her where he’s taking her or why. Joanna, mildly annoyed, keeps asking what’s up, but Chip maintains his secrecy until they arrive at a rundown house in need of some fixer-upping. “What did you do, Chip?” she asks suspiciously. “I signed us up for another season of Fixer Upper!” he proudly declares. “Can I tell you a little secret?” she responds. “I kind of missed it.”
The following December, a clip from that promo was included in a compilation video of Magnolia Network programming Joanna posted on Instagram. “This has been a labor of love, and we can’t wait for you to watch — stay tuned!” she wrote in the caption.
The musical duo that performed the Fixer Upper theme will have their own show on Magnolia Network
Any hardcore fan of Fixer Upper will be familiar with the show’s rocking theme song, “Home,” performed by the husband-and-wife duo known as Johnnyswim. Not only are Chip and Joanna Gaines big fans of the pair, Abner Ramirez and Amanda Sudano, they’re also close friends. Given that, it shouldn’t be surprising that the couple are starring in their own show on the Gaines’ Magnolia Network.
Speaking with People, Abner explained the origins of the six-episode series, titled Home on the Road. “Me and Chip talked for the first time when they found out they were getting a network, and he said, ‘Man, I was just wondering if you guys would trust us to make a show with you about this crazy thing that you guys do: making music and making a life together while making babies,'” he explained.
From the Gaines’ perspective, putting the pair on TV was a no-brainer. “Amanda and Abner are magnetic,” Chip and Joanna said in a statement to People. “They are a true picture of the relentless pursuit of following a dream and making it a reality.”
Why the launch of Magnolia Network spells the end of DIY Network
While Fixer Upper fans are looking forward to the launch of Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Network with anticipation, viewers of the DIY Network don’t have much to celebrate. That’s because the new network will be taking the place of DIY, which will vanish from the cable TV lineup. As USA Today reported when Magnolia Network was first announced, DIY – which, like Magnolia Network and the Gaines’ previous home, HGTV, is under the corporate umbrella of Discovery — will be shuttered. According to People, this left the fates of several DIY shows in limbo (DIY’s Bargain Mansions, the network’s most successful show, had already been shifted to HGTV in anticipation of DIY’s demise).
A look at the numbers indicates why replacing DIY with Magnolia Network makes sense. According to Inc., DIY Network had been struggling, with primetime national viewership of just 200,000. Fixer Upper, however, averaged 2.9 million viewers per episode in its final season. Even if just a quarter of those Fixer Upper viewers were to tune in to the new network, it would more than triple viewership, offering a win-win scenario for everyone.
Magnolia Network will feature a mix of new and familiar faces
In the original announcement for Magnolia Network, Chip and Joanna Gaines laid out their vision. “Our intention with this network is to create and curate content that inspires, encourages, and helps to build bridges across our communities,” the couple said in a joint statement. “We want honest, authentic programming that brings families together.”
That philosophy is reflected in the network’s offerings, featuring faces both new and familiar. Other than Chip and Joanna themselves, arguably the most familiar personality joining the network is Bizarre Foods‘ Andrew Zimmern, host of the new series Family Dinner.
Other series include: Zoe Eats, focused on Minneapolis baker Zoë Francois; Home on the Road with Abner Ramirez and Amanda Sudano; the Joanna Gaines-hosted Bespoke Kitchens; Restoration Road, hosted by Chip Harp; Growing Floret, following flower farmers Erin and Chris Benzakein; The Fieldhouse, starring former NFL player Justin Bane; Super Dad, in which Taylor Calmus makes handcrafted toys and playhouses; Home Work, focused on a family that the Gaines describe as “a modern Brady Bunch;” The Lost Kitchen, featuring a unique eatery in Maine; and In the Work, set at Lindsey Kurowski’s lodge in California.
Magnolia Network is about a lot more than just home renovation
While Chip and Joanna Gaines are primarily known for their home renovation exploits on HGTV’s Fixer Upper, the couple’s concept for Magnolia Network was far grander. In a 2019 interview with USA Today, the pair outlined their vision for their new network. “The difference moving forward is Jo and I are going to be able to tell more of our life stories,” Chip explained. “And so, as opposed to it being a very narrow vein in our universe, which is obviously construction and design and the things we do for a living, for us we feel like there’s a more holistic story to be told here.”
For Joanna, Magnolia Network allowed for “connecting with people in a different way.” She envisaged Magnolia Network as a platform for “telling other people’s stories, curating content.” So bullish was Discovery on the new network that HGTV president Allison Page planned to relinquish her role to run it. “We’ll have stories about family and community, food, garden, of course design, wellness, entrepreneurialism,” she said. “There are so many facets, at least in television, that people have not seen from them.”
Magnolia Network is just one part of Chip and Joanna Gaines' Magnolia empire
Of all of Chip and Joanna Gaines’ various ventures, Magnolia Network is certainly the most visible. However, it’s far from the only one. As Discovery’s initial announcement pointed out, the network itself is a three-pronged effort comprised of the linear TV brand, a presence on the TV Everywhere GO App, and a “view-and-do” OTT (over-the-top) service featuring “new short-form and long-form content — inspired by Magnolia and curated by the Gaineses.”
Then, of course, there’s the couple’s physical Magnolia complex in Waco, Texas, which includes Magnolia Market at the Silos, Magnolia Home (where visitors can find “fully-designed room scenes to help you imagine the possibilities for your own home”), Silos Baking Co. bakery, Magnolia Table restaurant, and Magnolia Press Coffee Co. Away from the complex, there’s also the Little Shop on Bosque (the site of the original Magnolia Market), in addition to Magnolia properties where visitors can stay, and Magnolia Realty, with satellite locations in other parts of Texas beyond Waco.
In addition, the Magnolia online store sells the couple’s books, along with a full array of furniture, home decor items, jewelry, t-shirts and more.
A team of industry veterans will be leading the charge at Magnolia Network
Chip and Joanna Gaines may be the faces of Magnolia Network, but they’ve enlisted some television industry heavy-hitters to run the operation. As Discovery’s press release announcing Magnolia Network revealed, the network will be led by Allison Page, shifting from her role as president of HGTV. “Allison is a singular talent, a fantastic leader with an eye for developing hosts, formats and creative teams,” said Discovery CEO David Zaslav, noting that she’d “been responsible for so much of the success across HGTV and Food Network in recent years.”
As The Hollywood Reporter detailed, Page hired Donna MacLetchie as general manager, programming. MacLetchie, a veteran producer of such series as Food Network Star, is overseeing production and managing the various teams behind the network’s shows. Also hired was Julie Morris as senior vice president of brand strategy and operations, having previously held a similar role for HGTV, Food Network, and Travel Channel. In addition, John Marsicano was announced as the network’s head of PR, while continuing his PR role for Magnolia, and as Chip and Joanna’s personal PR rep.
Magnolia Network is a huge risk for Chip and Joanna Gaines
When Chip and Joanna Gaines announced their decision to leave Fixer Upper, as noted by a profile in Inc., the official line was that the couple — who are also parents of five — were simply exhausted, and wanted to spend time with their kids and focus on their various ventures. Of course, the subsequent announcement that they’d be front and center in their own network revealed their hiatus was actually in service of this ambitious new venture.
As Chip explained, walking away from Fixer Upper was a risky move. “We made a bet on what Jo and I have always bet on,” he shared. “We bet on ourselves. We knew there was a real chance that everything else would go away without the show.”
When it comes to what Chip would like to see Magnolia Network accomplish, the sky’s the limit. “You think about the kinds of entrepreneurs who build these universes: Elon Musk, Steve Jobs,” he continued. “You have to believe in yourself to accomplish all of that, because it’s not going to happen if somebody else is feeding you answers. That’s not how universes are built.”
The Gaines' magazine led to the formation of Magnolia Network
After ending Fixer Upper, Chip and Joanna Gaines were approached by Discovery CEO David Zaslov about what it would take to get them back in front of a camera. As Zaslav told Inc., he avoided pitching them show ideas or formats, instead asking what they were most passionate about. Joanna had a quick answer: their magazine, Magnolia Journal. “I live and breathe that thing,” she revealed, which she viewed as “a way to connect with our people.”
As Joanna explained in an interview with USA Today, having their own network would provide a whole other way to forge that connection. “It felt to us a lot like what we do love with the magazine, but on a different playing field,” she added.
The one thing that Chip and Joanna insisted on was creative control, and Zaslav was happy to offer it. “My job is to stay out of the way and have them be who they are,” he shared. “At a time when there’s so much anger in the culture, they represent everything that America wants: faith, family, food, home, kindness, authenticity.”
Chip and Joanna Gaines want Magnolia Network to tell inspiring stories
Creative control of Magnolia Network was always important for Chip and Joanna Gaines, and they’ve gone out of their way to ensure their network offers a mix of inspiring storytelling and personalities reflective of the Magnolia brand.
One of these personalities is Eduardo Garcia, a Montana chef and outdoorsman who lost part of his arm in a freak accident that nearly cost him his life. He’s the focus of a new series on Magnolia Network, which was previewed on Entertainment Tonight in October 2020. In a clip from the show — which had yet to be named — Garcia explained how, after the accident, “cooking became a way for me to share my best self with others, and I believe that’s a recipe that others can use.”
The way Chip and Joanna came across Eduardo appeared to be indicative of the manner in which the couple discovered ideas for their network: they found his story in a magazine, and were “totally captivated” by what he had to say. “When the network came along, we were like, ‘Can you guys reach out to Eduardo, see what he’s doing,'” Joanna said.
Magnolia Network will be a crucial part of launching Discovery's new streaming service
With the October 2020 launch of Magnolia Network delayed until sometime in 2021, there was a silver lining. While Discovery may have been forced to postpone its plans for its new network, content that had been produced could be used as a lure to draw viewers to Discovery+, its streaming service.
According to Discovery’s announcement, Discovery+ is launching with a healthy helping of Magnolia Network offerings, including two that feature Chip and Joanna Gaines in their own standalone projects: Magnolia Table with Joanna Gaines, her new cooking show, and The Courage to Run with Chip Gaines and Gabe Grunewald, a documentary special in which Chip and “professional runner and rare cancer fighter” Gabe Grunewald train together for a marathon. In addition, Discovery+ also announced plans to stream the pilot episodes of the 10 new series ordered for Magnolia Network.
Given the massive fanbase that Chip and Joanna have built up over the years, making Magnolia Network content available on Discovery+ is a shrewd marketing move that promises to draw viewers to the new streamer while making the couple more popular than they already are.
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