The Waltons Cast: Then And Now
As we know, not all reality television that's perceived to be factual actually is. Your favorite shows that seem to be structured yet conveniently off-the-cuff entertaining (such as Survivor, American Idols, or The Amazing Race) all have moving mechanisms that happen behind the scenes that could break your illusion of how those shows are made. That's not necessarily a bad thing though, as these illusions are made to give you the best product and entertainment value. That's true even for a show like 'Fixer Upper' an American reality television series about home design and renovation. What looks like a seamless reality, actually has a lot of unseen truths that will amaze you.
In the show's tried and trusted structure, it involves each episode kicking off with hosts Chip and Joana showing their clients three homes where they have to choose one to flip. The truth behind this is that clients purchase a house before the show begins principal photography. Breaking one illusion that the show isn't as random and convenient as most people might think.
There's a whole bunch of savvy ways that money can be saved in the construction of a home within the show. One contestant, Lindy, while in the midst of redecoration, wasn't a fan of the rust-colored root of her house that didn't work with the aesthetic she had pictured. Host, Joana, however, voluntarily replaced the roof at half the price, without viewers at home noticing the change.
Jaime Ferguson applied for the client gig to HGTV after his relocation to Waco, Texas after living a long life out in Austin, in the same state. A day after applying, Jaime found out it wasn't just a matter of applying, but that she needed to go through a Skype interview, a written questionnaire, a number of phone interviews, and a series of personal meetings before she was eventually cast on the show.
As a contestant who appeared on the show, Jeff Jones, who featured in season 3 along with his wife, spoke about how demanding the schedule for the show actually is. How extensive is their schedule? Jeff explained that all his scenes that on television look as if they're filmed over a semi-lengthy period of time, were all executed in one day. An exercise he rightly defined as "exhausting".
Renovations outside of reality television normally take place over a course of a few months because there are no cameras lurking around for entertainment. On the show, the renovations average around three months. Mind you, these are full house renovations, not just certain rooms--meaning construction teams work heavy hours to get the job done.
Contrary to what you might have thought, all the furniture that appears in the newly renovated homes isn't there for the clients to keep. According to the Fergusons and some sources, clients buy the staging furniture on the show as not all of it is given to them to live with.
Jeff had loose lips and told Apartment Therapy that the designer on the show had used Sara's own home furniture to stage a home with a host of items that belong to her. None of the furniture used was for sale, however, and that's for good reason. Her items are very precious to her.
According to the Fergusons, a clear key source of information on the low-down on the show, Joanna had gifted named Kyle several custom-made items that she had made for the couple's music room. As a gift, there was no charge for these items, and they proudly hang high in the client's home.
On Lindy's episode, Joanna handcrafted three shiplap-framed coral art pieces for the couple's living room. Lindy and her husband bought them in order to decorate their home. These items aren't as costly as you'd expect, as they range around the reasonable $75 region.
Everyone involved with the show gets to eat once they've concluded production and they get to treat themselves to stellar food served to them. Jaime defined them as delicious, which means there's some gourmet food going around once all the hard work is done.
Each episode of the show involves Chip and Joanna place a massive poster of their clients' old home in front of their property to keep the thought of how far the home had come. On the last day of filming, the Gaineses wheel the poster away to reveal what their clients' renovated home looks like. Clients can keep the huge poster/canvas and can place it wherever they would like.
As we said, a lot of what you see from reality TV is tweaked in production and post-production in order to give viewers the sense that they're watching a seamless show. So, while things aren't scripted or heavily rehearsed, like any other reality show, some things between hosts and clients have to be repeated, such as certain lines, actions, and reactions to get it perfect for the television moment.
You'll be pleased to know that the clients on the show aren't hired actors, and are actual people looking to have their home fliped. Since few to none have any on-air experience, they find it a tad off-putting to perform for the camera. Luckily, many of them come around to the experience and eventually they manage to give the camera what it wants.
The Fergusons themselves had a total of $450,000 at their disposal and this was well aided by Magnolia who helps them compose a competent budget. Renovations cost a lot of money, and Magnolia is there to make practical dream homes come true.
Renovations are no easy feat, and HGTV and the associated studios and production companies have a certain budget devoted to the show that has to be adhered to when it comes to construction and renovations costs. The $279,903 budget includes both purchasing and renovating the home. But, many sources have also stated that clients have an average budget of $111,631 for renovations alone. And each episode must cater to that cost.
Like any other reality show, there are some seriously unseen secrets that are fairly well-kept in order to keep the allure and the illusion of the show. With 5 seasons down the line, it seems to be working overtime in the show's favor. What do you think of the behind-the-scenes secrets of Fixer Upper? Do you feel like any of these taint your love of the show for you?