In a new interview, Chip Gaines talks about his feelings filming the later seasons of Fixer Upper, revealing that while the show started out fun, it eventually made him feel "caged" and "trapped."
In 2017, he and wife Joanna Gaines announced that season five of their hit HGTV reality show would be the last. Last month, the parents of five revealed that they are returning to television with their own TV cable network, a partnership with Discovery, Inc., which owns HGTV.
"TV was a funny thing for me. I'm an authentic, sincere person. So, as long as things are natural and organic, I'm in my element," Chip told the magazine Cowboys & Indians in a January 2019 cover interview, carried out before the family's network deal was announced. "But the more staged something becomes, or the more required something becomes, it boxes me up, and I felt like toward the end of the Fixer Upper journey, I felt caged, trapped. Jo and I couldn't figure it out."
"I mean, why?" he said. "You're getting to have all this fun, right? But it's like if I put a camera in your face and said, 'Hey, say something funny.' Or if I put a camera in your face and said, 'Hey, be smart.' I just struggled with that environment. Especially at the end of it. At the beginning, it was so fun. The first three years of Fixer Upper were some of the best years of my life. The last two years, not that we don't look back on them fondly, but they were more of a job. So, something about breaking out of that has been liberating."
In their network deal announcement, made on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Chip said, "We are coming back to television. You're gonna get to see the kids grow up. You'll get to see us, obviously, in maybe a six months delay like the rest of the world, but we're excited to be back."
He said the two would carve out the network "in a way that really makes sense to us and our family," adding, "It's gonna be filmed a lot in Waco, Texas, so we don't have to travel a whole lot."
Chip told Cowboys & Indians, "Jo and I are both just kinda giddy, just like, Man, what's the future look like and what's the next step? Because we're both business people, and that's fundamentally who we are. Most of our creative energy goes toward business-related concepts; and the TV part of it, it's like, do we want to do that again?"
"We are having so much fun enjoying our family and growing this business here in Waco," he said. "What the TV future looks like is a big, fat question mark."