Chip and Joanna Gaines recently revealed that they will be ending their popular HGTV show ‘Fixer Upper’ and will be taking some time off. They stated that they need to take some time off to take a breath after so much work, but behind the scenes there may be something else in the works: they may want a better contract than what HGTV can offer.
Unbeknownst to most of their audience, HGTV’s contracts are apparently rather restrictive. After Food Network, which is owned by HGTV’s parent company Scripps, accidentally allowed Rachael Ray to become a massive star when she started her own line of magazines, product lines, and books, almost none of the money from those deals went to Scripps. They weren’t happy about that.
In response, the company made a more restrictive standard contract, to which the Gaineses have signed a few years ago. However, according to Page Six, they want something better than that, especially given their rather prominent place in the home and garden population’s eyes; since their launch in 2013, Fixer Upper has garnered more than 4.5 million viewers.
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.
Page Six’s further elaborated that the contracts are very restrictive in nature. One can hardly do anything without Scripps’ approval.
“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.”
“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.”
Quite honestly, if that’s true, who would blame them?
An HGTV representative dismissed the claims.
“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.”
Additionally, Brock Murphy, director of public relations for the Gaineses’ company, further stated to Page Six that their motivation for ending the show is a personal one, not business.
“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.”
What do you think? Should they try to get another contract with another network? Is that what’s actually happening?