Fixer Upper, starring Chip and Joanna Gaines, is one of the biggest home renovation shows of the last decade. The series kicks off each episode with the Gaines' showing a family three different houses in the Waco, Texas area. The couple then renovates the chosen home which leads up to the big reveal. However, it sounds like the whole house-hunting portion of the show may be completely staged.
In 2016, Season 3 participant David Ridley blew the whistle on the portrayal of the house-hunting aspect of the show. "You have to be under contract to be on the show. They show you other homes but you already have one," Ridley told Fox News. "After they select you, they send your house to Chip and Joanna and their design team."
When he shared his experience on the show with Country Living, he again spoke about having already purchased his home. "This part I have to be careful about because the show sets it up where you look at the house," Ridley said. "But anybody who reads the blogs know that you kind of have to have the house set up."
While we don't know what is included in the participant's final contracts, the application form asks some suspect questions. The form inquires about any known structural issues or improvements needed in the back yard. Question #22 even asks, "Where are you in the escrow process?"
The staging makes sense, though. Filming would prove difficult if a family had to go through financing, making a bid and signing contracts. We certainly don't blame the show for fudging the beginning portion of the show a little -- it is a show after all.
And let's be honest, whether portions of Fixer Upper are staged or not, no one is going to stop watching.
Chip and Joanna Gaines' new Magnolia cable network is set to debut in 2021. The couple will appear together on several shows on the network.
This article was originally published in 2016. It was updated in June of 2020.