One of America’s most popular television couples — Chip and Joanna Gaines of “Fixer Upper” fame — are returning to television to launch a new TV network in partnership with cable programming giant Discovery.
The Texas couple’s HGTV show ended earlier this year just before the birth of their fifth child. On Friday night’s episode of NBC’s “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” Chip Gaines dropped the news of the new venture.
“We’re coming back to television,” Gaines said, to cheers from the studio audience. “We're actually going to have a network, and I think we're going to really carve it out in a way that makes sense to us and our family.”
Their HGTV show ended its five-year run in April, which prompted the couple to take a break from television to spend more time with their growing family. On Fallon’s show, the couple discussed the wear-and-tear of being stars of a popular home renovation show. However, during the last few months, the couple developed a rapport with Discovery Chief Executive David Zaslav, who has been making frequent trips to Texas in a campaign to lure the couple back to television.
Discovery bought the parent company of HGTV and Food Network in March, giving it control of the channels. And Discovery executives recognized that the Gaineses’ star power was undeniable. In a politically polarized country, Chip and Joanna Gaines remain big hits with rural and urban viewers alike.
Discovery plans to rebrand one of its smaller TV outlets — such as DIY, Great American Country Channel or Destination America — into the Chip and Joanna Gaines channel. While the channel doesn’t have a name just yet, its title could involve Magnolia, which is the Gaineses’ lifestyle brand.
The television channel — and eventually a Gaines-branded streaming service — will be owned by Discovery, although the Gaineses will have an equity stake and serve as chief creative officers. Discovery will handle TV affiliate and advertising sales and technical support, according to a person familiar with the discussions who was not authorized to comment publicly. The couple will retain merchandising rights for products.
“It's going to be filmed a lot in Waco, Texas, so we don't have to travel a whole lot,” Chip Gaines said on Fallon’s show. “So with all things being equal, we could not be more excited.”
Partnering with big stars comes straight out of Zaslav’s playbook. A decade ago, he formed a partnership with Oprah Winfrey, which led to the creation of OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.
“Discovery is thrilled to confirm that we are in exclusive talks with Chip and Joanna Gaines,” the network said in a statement on Saturday. 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.”
The company said the deal wasn’t quite finalized.