Chip and Joanna Gaines picked an interesting time to start a cable network. But Magnolia Network is not just a cable channel; it’s also a channel on Discovery’s streaming service, Discovery+. And when it launched on Jan. 5, it drew in about 3 million viewers, a strong enough debut to land it at the No. 22 spot among all basic cable networks on its first night.
Driving those viewership numbers was the linear debut of Fixer Upper: Welcome Home, the reboot of the home renovation series that made the Gaineses famous. On its own, the unscripted show brought in 1.7 million viewers, according to Variety.
The reboot brings the couple back to television on a regular basis for the first time since they stepped away from Fixer Upper in 2017. They then spent the next three years developing programming and hiring talent for Magnolia Network.
Magnolia Network Launch Not Without Problems
Also featured on the new network are the series Family Dinner, an epicurean show from cooking show veteran Andrew Zimmern; The Lost Kitchen, a show hosted by author and restaurateur Erin French; and Magnolia Table with Joanna Gaines.
The network also has another show, Home Work, which follows the travails of the Utah-based home builders Candis and Andy Meredith. But Magnolia had to pull the series off the air briefly after complaints popped up on social media from angry homeowners upset with the caliber of the couple’s construction efforts.
Magnolia plans to cooperate with the homeowners to address their complaints and then return the show to its airwaves.
The Gaineses Stepped Back from Television After ‘Losing Steam,’ Joanna Said
Fixer Upper had been the most successful show ever to air on HGTV. And it launched the couple to national stardom. So why step away when things were going so well?
“There were numerous things,” Joanna said last year of why they left their show at its peak, per Deadline. “On my side it was, when you’re filming for four or five years, you begin to lose the ‘why.’ It’s now just this thing of like we’re just showing up. I think towards the end we just lost steam, we lost the purpose of it.”
“We wanted to wake up every day and say this is why we’re doing this,” she added. “It almost felt like it was wagging our tail and it was controlling us.”
Meanwhile, the Gaineses say they’re not trying to stop cable’s accelerating decline with the Magnolia Network. They just hope viewers who haven’t cut the cord yet – or viewers who have discovery+ – will tune in to Magnolia in cable or streaming form and take a load off for a few hours. And by the millions, it looks like that is what viewers are starting to do.