Chip and Joanna Gaines, the couple behind the lifestyle empire that included the popular, recently ended HGTV show “Fixer Upper,” are near a deal with Discovery to rebrand one of its cable channels.
The deal, which would include content production across all screens, would likely give the Gaines’ company, Magnolia, a minority stake in one of Discovery’s smaller channels, such as DIY, Destination America or Great American Country, according to people familiar with the matter. The Gaines would then become the creative leaders of the channel, and it would be reprogrammed and rebranded with their lifestyle content, the people said.
That process, which requires the signoff of pay-TV distributors, could take as long as two years, one of the people said.
“They’ve got that authentic thing, that relatability, that special something that is so difficult in our business to find,” Discovery Chief Executive David Zaslav said, comparing their star power to that of Oprah Winfrey, who has a similarly structured joint venture and branded channel with Discovery.
Mr. Zaslav learned that “Fixer Upper” was coming to an end after five seasons just before his company took over HGTV parent Scripps last year. “It sucked all the air out of my lungs,” he recalled.
He traveled to their home in Waco, Texas, where the couple runs a sprawling lifestyle empire that includes a restaurant, market and store, to woo them back, he said.
On the “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” on Friday night, Mr. Gaines announced that Mr. Zaslav’s entreaty’s had borne fruit, saying, “we are coming back to television.” He added that much of the filming would be done in their hometown of Waco, so that the couple, which recently had their fifth child, wouldn’t have to travel.
“We’re excited to share that we are currently in the early stages of talking with Discovery about a lifestyle-focused media network for Magnolia,” said Magnolia spokesman John Marsicano, adding that the details were still a “work in progress.”
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