People Mag wants Ben & Erin Napier to be the next Chip & Joanna Gaines

Boris Johnson and his pregnant fiancee Carrie Symonds are seen leaving Westminster Abbey

My go-to relaxation channels are the Food Network, the Cooking Channel and HGTV. I don’t like any of the competition shows, and I loathe Jonathan and WhatsHisFace Scott, both of whom come across on-camera like they have big serial killer energy. For a while, I considered Erin and Ben Napier the “poor man’s Joanna and Chip Gaines,” but I’ve revised my opinion of them over the lockdown. I got drawn into a Home Town (the Napiers’ HGTV show) marathon early in the lockdown, and now I kind of love them. I still have questions about her decorating ability (questionable), her ability to put the right colors together (non-existent) and her “art,” but I really love them now. They’re sweet as hell and they’re less churchy than Chip and Joanna Gaines, if that makes sense. Still, now that the Gaineses have left HGTV, I guess People Mag wants to make the Napiers the next family-friendly home-reno couple.

Ben and Erin Napier might be some of HGTV’s biggest stars, but the college sweethearts never planned on being famous. Before the former church minister, 36, and his graphic-designer wife, 34, shot to success on their hit series Home Town, on which they find and renovate homes for families, they were newlyweds trying to fix up their own dream house: a 1925 craftsman cottage in Laurel, Miss.

“Since I was a kid, I had always wanted to live in it,” Erin says of the home in the latest issue of PEOPLE. As they overhauled the house room by room, every choice had to be made on a budget. “We didn’t have a dime to waste,” she says. The couple got thrifty with materials, and Erin documented the project from start to finish. Once their home was completed, it was featured by several magazines and websites, where it caught the eye of an HGTV producer.

“She sent us an email and said, ‘This might sound crazy, but I’ve been stalking you on social media, and I’d like to put you guys on TV,’” recalls Ben. “I was like, ‘Really? Why?’”

Now the Napiers, who are also parents to 2-year-old daughter Helen, command a growing home-improvement empire, including their series Home Town (now in its fourth season), plus the spinoff Home Town Takeover, two retail stores, a book and a furniture line. “We never expected this,” says Erin. “Getting a TV show never even crossed our minds.”

Making the couples’ evolution even more unexpected is the fact that they had had zero formal experience in construction or home design before launching their show in 2017. “The way it all happened was crazy,” says Ben. “ It was never something we thought would turn into a career.”

[From People]

“Former church minister,” just had to throw that in for the People readers! Honestly, from the episodes I’ve seen, they’ve already renovated two houses for young gay couples and the Napiers seem genuinely “cooler” than their “Mississippi minister and his Karen-looking wife” vibe would indicate. Anyway, I’m going back and forth between “being happy that a nice, cool HGTV couple is getting attention” and “being sad that they’ll have to play up the churchy vibe now.” Also: I love his wood pieces. I love how much he loves wood! Ben is a sweetheart.

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Photos courtesy of Getty, cover courtesy of People.

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24 Responses to “People Mag wants Ben & Erin Napier to be the next Chip & Joanna Gaines”

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  1. Amy says:

    I love HOME TOWN!! And he isn’t a former preacher he is the child of a preacher they mentioned it on the show. Also while I am not religious I won’t judge someone who is especially if they don’t force it on me.

    I find them endlessly entertaining, I love what Ben does with wood working its so fun and I think she is the best designer HGTV has had, she looks at the style of the house and always tries to do what the family would like.

    I have watched every episode so many times because i just enjoy what they do with the houses. And yeah I always wonder the MS thing but that doesn’t seem fair as they have worked with biracial couples, gay couples and people of all ethnicities and seem to be comfortable and close to several of them.

    THey are also super sarcastic and I enjoy it.

    • Amy says:

      Wanted to edit to say- when I first watched the pilot I thought it was terrible but then I saw a marathon and fell in love. So if you only saw it once I say give it a chance because it is better then Fixer Upper (and I love fixer upper)

    • Linda says:

      This may sound totally weird, but I googled them once and found a video they did with Liberty University. I cringed and had a serious ‘oh no please not them’ moment. They were there because someone saw at Liberty clearly thought they were Chip and Joanna-lite. I can safely say they are not. He said he was a youth minister for a while because that’s what he thought he was supposed to do because both parents were ministers. He quit the ministry because it wasn’t for him and he didn’t think he was doing any good. When he said all that, the room went silent. And he’s Methodist and she converted to that when they got married. They were clearly not being embraced by that crowd. But they were honest about their journey and their faith. But they were not megachurch vibe at all. It was genuine and human, and if they were Liberty-ish I think they would have copped to it there with that crowd. Not to say they aren’t creepy Christian like undercover but I didn’t see it.

  2. dogmom says:

    I remember when this premiered a few years back HGTV hyped it for weeks so I watched it (I think it premiered after a brand-new Fixer Upper or Property Brothers so I just didn’t change the channel afterward). And I thought that first episode was completely unwatchable — it was boring, it seemed like it could have been 30 minutes instead of 60, and I didn’t think they were especially interesting. So I never watched another episode until a few months back when a marathon was on one day when I was at the gym on the treadmill, and I liked it! IDK if I didn’t give it enough of a chance back in the day or if they had some growing pains that they overcame. But I enjoyed it, more than Fixer Upper honestly — Chip just tries way too hard to be wacky and it’s become a turn-off so I like that Ben just acts normal. 😝

  3. Case says:

    I tried watching this a while ago and really didn’t like it. I didn’t find them to be particularly likable and thought her decorating was awful! If others are enjoying them more now, maybe I’ll try again.

    • amilou says:

      From the comments, I think that was a lot of people’s opinion. It was certainly mine. I’d seen the show early on and hated it. But I did catch a bit during quarantine, and I’ve got to say — they’ve won me over.

  4. CoffeeNowChampsLater says:

    I dunno. I always change the channel when their show comes on. They give me a weird “putting on” vibe. Maybe it’s the marketing?? I like the actual reno work vs the scripted banter. But, I’ll check them out and see.

    • girl_ninja says:

      Same. Why must she draw a picture of the house? And his voice sounds like Kermit the Frog.

  5. manda says:

    Even my husband will watch this show, which really says a lot. He told me that he can relate to the husband in this show, because he is always sweating 🙂

  6. WriterMarie says:

    I like Ben, but Erin is so annoying to me. I have to watch their show 20 minutes at a time, or pause the DVR and then fast forward through her talking. She just grains on me! LOL… but Ben is very talented with the woodworking. I feel bad for him to be married to her. Sorry not sorry!

  7. Sam the Pink says:

    I watch this show like crazy, I cannot lie. I like that they aren’t professionals in the design world. I like that they work with families that have far more realistic budgets than some (oh, hello house hunters and your half a million dollar plus budgets). I like that they seem to help a diverse group. I like that they seem to have a genuine desire to preserve old architecture.

    Gosh darn, I just like them.

  8. Erinn says:

    It’s always weird to me when I hear ‘my’ name on tv or something. There’s not many Erin/n’s around here so it was always super surprising to hear it said out loud on a show or something. Especially in this case though when I saw ‘graphic designer’ because I do design and development for websites for a living.

    The husband also has basically my husbands hair cut, and a poofier version of his beard, which is kind of amusing.

  9. CJT says:

    I preferred them over Chip and Joanna from the get-go. I loathe the way Joanna stages, those giant clocks should be banned from the earth. And Ben is truly charming and less goofy and seems more genuine than Chip’s ham sandwich on-camera game.

    • Case says:

      I got really tired of Chip and Joanna after a while. It made me uncomfortable how much they made their children part of their brand/show, Chip’s antics were just stupid, and something about them felt performative after a while, rather than just being a down-to-earth couple.

    • Sankay says:

      Agreed. I like them both no don’t feel like they are forcing a likability, if that makes sense and I know these shows are somewhat scripted. To me they are a sweet couple.

  10. Liz version 700 says:

    I love their show. I grew up in a town similar to theirs and I love seeing the way they save everything and try to use local craftsmen. They have gotten a lot better as time has gone on at “camera time.” I especially love when they work on $120k homes or $80k homes. Not everyone has a 750k budget like on other shows. I always wonder where the 1.2 million dollar budget people even come from.

  11. Melissa says:

    They’re sooooooo much better than the Gaines’! I love them and have been hooked from the first episode. They make me want to move to Mississippi- I’d live in a Craftsman Mansion! Around my house we like to quote Ben all the time, “Daaaaang.” and “That’s REAL nice.”

  12. Michelle says:

    I just found this show while being on lockdown and I think it is really cute. Both of them seem genuine and friendly. Ben comes off as a calm, sweet and patient person. Although I do like Property Brothers (sorry, not sorry), Home Town has more of a budget friendly feel. I have never cared for Chip and Joanna. I only watched one show and that was it for me!

  13. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Their show beats that other show on every level. And there’s actual color in the rooms. Home designs don’t morph into each other throughout the series like ‘that other show,’ lol. Not too hammy either.

  14. Phat girl says:

    Yessss, I live about an hour and a half away from where they do their show. All the people on there seem like my neighbors. It’s like the show is put together but not “edited” to death like some other shows. They all just seem like real people who really live here.

  15. Redhead says:

    When their show first aired I thought that they were trying to be the new chip and Joanna. I’ll be danged if they didn’t grow on me and now I can’t wait to watch them! It is a refreshing change from that hyper juvenile antics of the annoying Chip! They really are so nice and so in love.

  16. C-Shell says:

    At first I rolled my eyes, but I’d deep-sixed Fixer Upper when the Gaineses became megalomaniacs and their church highly-promoted and highly-problematic. Now that I’m locked down, I’ve binged Home Town a few times, and they are so much more enjoyable to watch than Chip and Joanna. Ben gets yummier the more I watch, 👀, and while Erin’s “art” still makes me cringe a little, I enjoy her design aesthetic. It’s whimsical, original, whereas Joanna’s is white-chocolate-cookie-cutter-same-same-same. I wish them all the luck.

  17. Blerg says:

    I have been onboard since the pilot and must respectfully disagree re:Erin’s ability to put colors together. She has clearly studied color theory and I think it is one of her strengths, because she could care less about trends. I love that she cares about making the houses personal to each family. Also! I think they excel at the cottages…my favorite episodes are the sisters in different seasons who own the candy store and each have cottages…so sweet. And Ben is gold…I just love this.

    • stephka says:

      I really like Erin and her designs. Wish she’d get a different hairstyle.