Chip and Joanna Gaines so impressed HGTV with their remodeling of a Waco residence featured in the pilot of “Fixer Upper” that the network has asked the couple to appear in 12 more episodes that will begin appearing in March.
The Gaineses said in interviews Monday they hope to find several more homes in Greater Waco to be featured on the broadcasts.
“I don’t think they believe we can find enough to fill the entire series, but I think we can,” said Joanna Gaines, 35, who has her own design team and has collaborated with her husband, a contractor, to establish a reputation for style and flair in their renovation of homes.
The couple and their crew spent 28 days altering the interior of a residence in the iconic Castle Heights neighborhood, with cameras following every move for the premiere of “Fixer Upper” on May 23. The airing reportedly attracted enough viewers to sell HGTV on the show’s potential and land the couple a longer gig.
“I think they envision this lasting a few years,” said 38-year-old Chip Gaines. “During a recent meeting, they said, ‘Welcome to the HGTV family.’”
Patrick Jager, executive producer of “Fixer Upper,” said he believes America will fall in love with the Gaineses, as he has.
“They have that spark, that ‘it’ factor,” said Jager, speaking by phone from the Denver offices of High Noon Entertainment, a production company that has launched such popular programs as “XTreme Waterparks” for the Travel Channel and “Unwrapped” for the Food Network, among others.
“I went to college in Texas, and I know the wonderful personalities Texans have,” Jager said, adding, “Chip and Jo have a humbleness about them that is so appealing. I just love talking with them. They make me feel as if we’ve been friends our entire lives.”
Jager said he had been following the exploits of the Gaineses on Joanna’s blog for more than a year before approaching HGTV about his idea for a show.
“Here’s a couple still in their mid-30s with a design firm, a construction company, a real estate firm and a subdivision under development,” Jager said. “Besides that, they have four amazing kids. I knew they would be good. I just didn’t know when or how good. Hopefully, they will be around for many more seasons after the next one.”
Joanna Gaines said a production team will move to Waco next week for filming that will last through October. The Gaineses are scheduled to complete three remodeling jobs every seven weeks, which means the projects will overlap. HGTV is advertising to attract would-be homebuyers looking for homes that need work.
The Gaineses and the production unit will expand their search to Fort Worth and Austin, if Waco alone can’t fill the 12-show schedule.
Homeowners who agree to share their remodeling projects with the nation must invest at least $30,000 in the project, with the money going to the Gaineses. HGTV also will pay Chip and Joanna a “talent” fee and will cover the cost of one bonus feature in each remodel.
“We are finishing up the last of our other remodeling jobs so we can give our full attention to ‘Fixer Upper,’ because we think it deserves it,” Joanna said, adding that Magnolia Homes, the family’s construction and remodeling company, also is close to completing the Magnolia Villas subdivision on Bosque Boulevard.
But the Gaineses will not abandon all outside ventures in their pursuit of filling airtime for HGTV.
“Each show will end with us working on an old farmhouse near Crawford, which is something we’ve wanted to do for years,” Joanna said.