Last month, Chip and Joanna Gaines announced they were ending their wildly popular HGTV show Fixer Upper. The current season, the fifth season, will be their last. They claimed that they were ending the show because of their family – they have young children, they live on a farm, and they have a growing empire based off the popularity of the show. Their empire will still grow and Joanna and Chip Gaines are still going to work and do sh-t, but they just won’t do the show anymore. That announcement led to a lot of theorizing about everything. Some sources claimed that the Gaines wanted more money and/or a bigger platform. That might be true?
“Fixer Upper” stars Chip and Joanna Gaines claim they are leaving their hit show because they “need to take a breath.” But Page Six TV on Monday reveals it is actually because of HGTV’s “horrible contracts” and the couple is betting on landing a bigger deal with Discovery. HGTV is owned by Scripps, which is in the process of being bought by Discovery Communications — and insiders say Chip and Joanna are betting that Discovery will make them a bigger deal once the sale is finalized.
An HGTV network insider told Page Six, “Many years ago, when Scripps, which also owns Food Network, signed Rachael Ray, they didn’t think about Rachael starting a magazine, launching product lines, getting endorsement deals and her books selling millions of copies. And so while Food Network turned Rachael Ray into a star, she made tens of millions and Scripps got none of it. After Rachael, they made sure no talent deal would ever put them in that situation again. Since the Gaineses were relatively unknown when they started, they signed the general Scripps talent contract.” The source added, “Scripps talent contracts are very restrictive. The talent can’t do anything without their approval — any appearance, any publicity, any endorsement, any product — you have to ask them for permission. It is awful. And on top of that, Scripps takes a big percentage of everything you make — books, appearances, endorsements, products. If you make money, they take most of the money.”
The source added, “As Chip and Joanna grew more famous and popular over the years, the HGTV conceded to a few changes to their contract — like not taking a percentage of their Target collection — but they still wanted the Gaineses to shoot long days, promote the show and just work their butts off. So they are using this end of their contract as a total renegotiation to get the deal they really want: more money, less work, more control. The timing of Discovery buying Scripps worked well in their favor. With Discovery hopefully now about to own Scripps, they are rolling the dice thinking the new owners will come running after them and give them the deal they really want.”
Discovery’s deal to buy Scripps is still being vetted by the FTC, and Discovery execs can’t approach any Scripps talent until at least early next year. But a TV insider said, “Discovery will surely go after Chip and Joanna, once the deal is cleared, because of their huge popularity. Discovery deals are traditionally much more generous to the talent, and the network can turn them into international stars, like Discovery did with ‘Cake Boss.’”
A rep for HGTV said in a statement, “Of course, this inflammatory information is inaccurate. Chip and Joanna have already shared with their fans why they made their decision and we support them.”
This is VERY interesting, isn’t it? I think the heart of it is probably true, and if the source is right about the contract the Gaines’ signed, that’s reason enough to want to get out of the contract full-stop. Whether or not the Gaines’ get another contract with Discovery is beside the point – they are in-demand and they’ll build another show somewhere, I’m absolutely positive. It just won’t be Fixer Upper on HGTV. I had no idea the HGTV contract was so restrictive… huh. Well, that explains a lot.
Photos courtesy of Getty.