Chip and Joanna Gaines miss their lives when there were 'no cameras'
On the eve of launching Magnolia Network, the Fixer Upper stars reflect on their lives before TV — when he was building and she worked the shop.
Finally, no more reruns of Chip and Joanna Gaines! The Texas couple's Magnolia Network — a joint venture with Discovery — will begin streaming Thursday and feature new shows with America's favorite fix-it duo. There's also lots of new stuff like Family Dinner, Homegrown, Restoration Road With Clint Harp, First Time Fixer, Home Work, Super Dad, Inn the Works, Van Go, The Artisan's Kitchen, Growing Floret, and Extraordinary Stories Behind Everyday Things.
Here, the couple talks about their ambitious new venture, the blooming tree that started it all, and whether Chip Gaines should consider his own adventure show.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY Hey Chip! Nice hair.
CHIP GAINES Thank you. It's become quite the controversy. I mean, it's like politics. You're on one side or the other. there's no in-between.
How did you first come up with the word magnolia?
JOANNA GAINES One of our first dates. We were driving around the Baylor campus...
CHIP GAINES They've got this beautiful 150-year-old magnolia tree ...
JOANNA GAINES One that you would climb. Chip and I were driving by and it was blooming these gorgeous white fragrant blooms. Then Chip used to always tell me, because he was in the landscape business, how he could climb and scale this tree. He picked a bloom and it was like the first flower I ever got from him.
Did it take your breath away when the idea of your own network was pitched to you?
CHIP GAINES I don't think we understood the gravity of it. Everybody was pawing at us for more television. What kind of television can you be involved in and how many hours and how many dollars can we pay you for those hours? Discovery CEO David Zazlav put all that aside and really didn't chase how many hours [they could produce]. He said you two are business people and he refers to his networks as businesses. He said if we coupled you with one of our businesses, we have the opportunity to do something great together. The way he spoke of that and the entrepreneurship and the risk that was involved with this... it did take our breath away.
When you were curating shows for the network, I pictured you two sitting at a dining room table coming up with ideas. Did you ever consider a show focused entirely on shiplap?
JOANNA GAINES The Shiplap Show!
CHIP GAINES I'm pro this! Jo is trying to move in a different direction, so she would be a little resistant. But as far as I'm concerned, I could look at it all day long. It's like Shark Week. Who doesn't want to see shiplap week?
Did your mind just wander with possibilities?
JOANNA GAINES My mind doesn't typically wander. It's a show about cooking? We can call it "The Cooking Show." I like to keep things very simple. Even now, I've got these approvals for names of shows on my desk and I'm going through them. I don't take it lightly. Like I really try to think, okay, what is the story we're telling? What is the talent doing? What are they passionate about? It's fun to see these shows come alive.
You're giving Clint Harp a show called Restoration Road! He's so talented. People will want to know if he's single.
CHIP GAINES He's not single. He's got multiple kids, but we get that a lot. He's the most talked-about NON-eligible bachelor. If you happen to see an episode of Fixer Upper, John was a guy that worked with us. I mean, folks from all over the planet from every spectrum of life started reaching out via Twitter. Who is this guy? Is he available? We will have eligible bachelors and not-so-eligible bachelors. We try to cover the gamut.
Chip, do you miss the simple pleasure of ripping down a wall? Joanna, do you miss staging houses alone with no cameras around?
CHIP GAINES I would say I do miss it, the no cameras thing. The good news about me and Jo is that when the cameras happen to be there, we're rocking and rolling. We enjoy that relationship now. I mean, at the beginning six or seven years ago, I was terrified of it. And I'm a really outgoing, kind of personable guy. But there's something about that intimate relationship with a camera operator with a red light and you. There's no feedback. I live off of people's reactions and expressions and the camera doesn't give you any of that. So I would say it took me a minute to get acclimated to that system. But the idea of having that opportunity without the cameras? I would say I'm jealous of those moments that Jo and I both experienced before this amazing opportunity presented itself, where it was just like us just being normal. Let's just be regular folks doing really hard work. The one thing I'm so proud of is the opportunity to highlight all the men and women out there doing this very hard, very artistic work that a lot of times kind of goes unnoticed.
JOANNA GAINES Oh, I miss when it was just me and Chip at the shop and we'd have to be up at four in the morning, because he was doing all the displays for me and, you know, hammering and gluing stuff. I just like being at the shop every day. I feel like I'm a shopgirl. I love being behind the counter. I love interacting with customers. As Magnolia has grown, that's not necessarily my reality anymore, but I miss that. And styling a home with no cameras, being up late into the night, having friends drop off snacks ... fr me, that was such a romantic kind of time for us as we were growing our business, learning about ourselves. We will always look back and miss it, but we can still stand here and say, you know, without those moments we wouldn't be here today.
A rerun of Fixer Upper aired this last weekend where Chip goes up in the fighter jet. I have to ask you, did you vomit?
CHIP GAINES: I hope I don't step on anybody's toes through this, but of all the experiences that I've had the opportunity to do, that was really high on my bucket list. Nowadays, I'm pretty out of shape and pretty average, but I was in really good shape back in that particular moment. And boy, I was at the top of my game. I told the pilot right off the bat, there's nothing I can't do. This fool went and did all this complicated stuff and he tells you as you're doing it, that was 1-G, this is 2-G. I literally almost fainted and puked simultaneously. When I got out of that plane, it took me like a week to fully recover.
That, of course, begs the question: Did you consider a Chip the Explorer show for Magnolia?
CHIP GAINES: I like the sound of that! There's not a whole lot of challenges that I would say no to. Something between Fear Factor and Bear Grylls and maybe like Expedition Unknown. If you were to mix all those into a pot, we could probably come up with something.
Here are some of the shows planned for Magnolia:
● Fixer Upper: Welcome Home: Chip and Jo are back with new ideas for turning outdated homes into jaw-dropping, innovative living spaces. Having expanded their business (and their family), the Gaineses now juggle more while renovating, which keeps things unpredictable.
● Magnolia Table With Joanna Gaines: Infused with her warmth and passion for all things family, Joanna Gaines spends time in the kitchen sharing her favorite recipes, where they come from, and why she finds herself returning to them time and time again.
● Family Dinner: Host Andrew Zimmern visits families across America to hear their stories and explore how the cultural, regional, and historical facets of who we are and how we eat.
● Homegrown: Atlanta-based farmer Jamila Norman helps families transform their outdoor spaces into beautiful and functional backyard farms while exploring the joy and benefits of growing your own food.
● Restoration Road With Clint Harp: Carpenter Clint Harp hits the road in search of incredible historical structures across the country that are in need of restoration while exploring their origins and dreaming of their futures.
● First Time Fixer: First-time house renovators take their home renovation dreams into their own hands and experience the risk and reward that comes with trying something new.
● Home Work: Candis and Andy Meredith's biggest renovation project to date is transforming a 20,000-square-foot historic school into their family home — all while juggling projects for clients, rental properties, and life with their blended family of nine.
● Van Go: Chewy Design Co. owner Brett Lewis renovates vans into tiny homes on the road, creating innovative solutions and tackling the many challenges that come with custom outfitting each vehicle for his clients' lifestyles.
● The Johnnyswim Show: Husband-wife musicians Abner Ramirez and Amanda Sudano Ramirez raised their kids for years on a tour bus while playing with their band. Faced with a canceled tour due to COVID-19, the family must adjust to life at home while adapting to their music careers.
● The Fieldhouse: At The Fieldhouse, physical and personal challenges are tackled head-on. Owner Justin Bane and his staff change live by restoring and rehabilitating clients from the inside out at this cutting-edge fitness facility in Abilene, Texas.
● Extraordinary Stories Behind Everyday Things: Offering an in-depth look at how iconic American-made products are created, this series celebrates the ingenuity, passion, and creativity of the people who proudly stand behind these timeless classics.
● (re)motel: Passionate motel owners across America restore and redesign their historic properties.