“Fixer Upper” stars Chip and Joanna Gaines sudden announcement they would quit shocked their fans. The show is one of the highest-rated shows in HGTV’s history. Dedicated fans have followed the couple’s journey from a small construction and decorating firm in Waco, Texas, to huge celebrities and very successful entrepreneurs.
Since the pilot aired in 2013, the fan base now attracts nearly 4.5 million viewers.
The New York Post’s Page Six claimed on Monday, October 9, that the home renovation stars decided to quit their HGTV series because of what a source described as the network’s “horrible contracts.”
The Gaines is denying a report that claims they’re leaving their hit show, Fixer Upper, in a bid to land a more lucrative contract.
The couple claims they are leaving their hit show because they “need to take a breath.” And that’s the story they are sticking to at this point.
Brock Murphy, director of public relations for the Gaineses’ company Magnolia Market, told Page Six in a statement, “Chip and Jo’s decision to leave ‘Fixer Upper’ is truly just based on wanting to catch their breath for a minute; to rest, refresh, and spend even more time with their family and growing businesses. It is not based on anything else people might read. They were very open and honest about their reasoning behind this decision when they first shared the announcement.”
The word is that HGTV contracts are terrible for its stars.
Page Six reported that Scripps, which currently owns HGTV, has “very restrictive” contracts for its talent and takes a big percentage of everything their stars make from books, appearances, endorsements and products. The source told Page Sixthat the couple negotiated a change to their contract so that the network wouldn’t get a cut of profits from their successful Target collection but are hoping to land a deal with “more money, less work, more control.”
Of course, HGTV wants to dispel any such ugly rumors that they are not treating their talent well.
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.”
Last month Chip, 42, and Joanna, 39, announced on their website with a post that when the new season starts in November, it will be their last.
“It is with both sadness and expectation that we share the news that season 5 of Fixer Upper will be our last,” they wrote in a blog post on September 26. “While we are confident that this is the right choice for us, it has for sure not been an easy one to come to terms with. Our family has grown up alongside yours, and we have felt you rooting us on from the other side of the screen. How bittersweet to say goodbye to the very thing that introduced us all in the first place.”
So the reason the contracts with HGTV are so hideous? Well HGTV is owned by Scripps. And inside information gives us a peek into the dealings of the network.
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.”
Aside from wanting a chunk of any money the stars earn outside their show, they must also get permission from HGTV before making any significant decisions.
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.”
Chip and Joanna are gambling to get a bigger better television deal with Discovery Communications which is in talks to purchase HGTV.
The source added “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.”
The FTC is still reviewing Discovery’s purchase of HGTV via Scripps.