The duo is heading up Magnolia Network — which will debut its full slate of original programming on July 15 on its app and on the new streaming service discovery+. It will include the show, “Fixer Upper: Welcome Home,” a revamped version of their first hit, “Fixer Upper.”
The series will see Chip, 46, and Joanna, 42, work together to renovate homes, which includes shopping in public for Joanna — an activity that has been limited by safety precautions for nearly a year now.
During discovery+‘s TCA panel on Thursday, Joanna addressed filming under such circumstances, including visiting flea markets to find antiques, a staple of her decor style.
“With the pandemic, vendors have gotten so creative,” said the star. “There’s so many vendors that just literally text me their lot and say, ‘Hey, I’ve got this and this and this,’ and that’s how I incorporate a lot of the antiques you’ll see on this new series with ‘Fixer Upper: Welcome Home.'”
Chip and Joanna Gaines reflected on filming new shows and building a network amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Mireya Acierto/FilmMagic)
Magnolia Network will see shows with several other hosts as well, including chef and restaurateur Erin French, Floret Farms owners Erin and Chris Benzakein and more. The expanded company meant that Chip and Joanna had to lay down the law when it came to staying safe.
“I would say with a lot of our talent, the one thing we really encourage is obviously we have to be smart about how we do this from a production standpoint and be safe,” Joanna explained. “And so the way everyone’s doing it is following the protocols.”
She continued, pointing out that many flea markets take place outdoors, which is generally considered a safe venue than in close quarters indoors.
“For me, it’s really important for our brand, even trying to figure out how to implement that more in the store,” she said of the shops she owns. “I think it’s that perfect blend of old and new that really helped tell that story. So I’d be curious to know just kind of the story that the talent is telling and how they’re getting creative and how they’re finding these pieces as well.”
Despite the challenges that were presented to them, Joanna said that she’s found a lot of good in building the network.
“One of the things Chip has always taught me is just to be a lifelong learner,” Joanna expressed. “So … with the network, we’ve got some people that are doing water coloring and stuff, so even though I have no idea what it is, when I watch it, all of the sudden now I want to step into that world.”
She added that a goal of the network is to help viewers “learn” and make them feel “inspired” so that they feel they can “tackle” projects like those chronicled on the show.
While she’s now one of the biggest names in the house flipping business, it wasn’t something that came naturally to Joanna.
“It took me years to really start trusting my gut when it came to design,” the author confessed. “A lot of that required practice and failing and practice and failing. I think now, I feel like I know my gut instinct and we wrestle with [insecurities] every day whether it’s magazines or its the design on these homes, I’m constantly wrestling with that feeling.”
Chip also found difficulties in developing the network and television shows in general and said that it was occasionally tough to watch his story unfold on TV.
“What a layperson may not realize is that essentially in a season worth of information to the consumer, in fact, translated to a year, a literal 12-month calendar year of life,” he said.
Chip and Joanna Gaines will launch their Magnolia Network’s original programming on its app and on discovery+ on July 15. (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)
The star added that “trading” a year’s worth of his life for “13 to 18 episodes” of television feels “a little bit daunting.”
Despite any difficulties Chip and Joanna have faced in developing their show, network and brand, they always make sure to take care of their mental health.
“Jo is in virtual 24-hour-a-day therapy for obvious reasons,” Chip joked. “… She refers to me as, like, triplets. So she was married to a triplet and then had five kids after that. But I will say that that we believe in mental health and taking care of yourself in that in that sense.”
Chip added that he’s taken a liking to basketball pro Kevin Love’s initiative within the NBA to “foster this open conversation … as opposed to everybody feeling like you’re supposed to hide these things in a closet somewhere to instead maybe try to let that be a little more of an open dialog,” as he put it.
He continued: “We just are really pro openness and the opportunities that are available to us when we have the opportunity to talk about things that are happening in our lives and just mental wellness.”