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One bonus of Magnolia Network’s extra runway from the COVID-19 delay is that the July 15 bow on Discovery+ brings with it a rather full slate — 26 original series featuring such eclectic makers as interior designer Brian Patrick Flynn, baker and cookbook author Bryan Ford, and Atlanta-based farmer Jamila Norman.
“With a lot of this talent, we had to convince them,” says Joanna Gaines. “A lot of them had been reached out to about doing television before, and they needed assurances that we weren’t going to reshape their stories. We’re just sort of following them along, which is probably the opposite way of how you make television.”
Staying away from over-producing, which they avoided on Fixer Upper, is something to both Chip and Joanna hope is a through-line in all their shows. “If you’re not a contractor, you don’t have to pretend like you are,” says Chip. “If you’re not a restaurateur, don’t pretend like you are.”
The Gaineses approached populating their schedule like they do Magnolia Journal, their quarterly magazine. “It’s not about me and Chip being on every page,” says Joanna. “It’s about curating content that gets to tell other people’s stories.”
The robust slate, with nearly 150 hours of original programming, has been several years in the making. The Gaineses ordered their first series in October 2019. Fixer Upper fans will also be pleased that nine episodes of reboot Fixer Upper: Welcome Home will also be on the platform, as will the entire library of the original HGTV series.
“Like Fixer Upper did, we are hoping this programming finds a broad audience,” says Magnolia Network president Allison Page of their wide net. “We don’t have a 37-year-old woman who lives in Topeka as the model.”
Complementing shows focused on cooking, home design, renovation and family-friendly reality is a stand-alone app. In addition to the Magnolia Network series available on Discovery+, it features longform workshops with much of the same network talent on such topics as houseplants, baking and watercolor painting. (Among other things, the Magnolia app is also home to 45 episodes of Julia Child’s classic The French Chef.)
“We’ve all come off of a really hard year,” says Joanna. “We hope people watch and feel inspired to go do something in their own lives.”
A version of this story first appeared in the June 30 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.
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