Unreality TV: Former ‘Fixer Upper’ Contestant Says Parts are Fake

updated Apr 30, 2019
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(Image credit: HGTV)

Brace yourselves, die-hard Fixer Upper fans: One of the show’s former contestants says the HGTV series’ opening scenes are fake.

So, hearing that a portion of a reality show is staged isn’t the most outrageous thing to stumble across our thresholds. But for those who rely on the series to hone their home décor skills, hearing what season three participant David Ridley told Country Living about Chip and Joanna Gaines’ home selection process might be mildly disconcerting.

From a viewer’s standpoint, Chip and Joanna kick off each episode by showing their participants three homes to choose from before the duo go about dazzling us and the homeowners with their design dexterity. But that’s all a huge front, Ridley says. “You have to be under contract to be on the show. They show you other homes but you already have one,” he said, explaining that he bought his home before even applying for Fixer Upper. “After they select you, they send your house to Chip and Joanna and their design team.”

A perusal of the show’s casting application suggests that Ridley’s revelation is legitimate. However, a statement released by the network politely side-steps his accusations to keep the focus on what fans love about the show:

“‘Fixer Upper’ fans enjoy the series because it focuses on the playful banter between Chip and Jo, their home renovation expertise, innovative design tips and families who get the help they need to transform a fixer upper into the home of their dreams.”

If this sounds familiar, it’s because another HGTV hit, House Hunters, has been under scrutiny for years the exact same reason. Last year, the network even joked about the show being scripted.

Transparency is always appreciated, but we’ll have to wait and see how this goes over with fans when the new season of Fixer Upper premieres on Tuesday, November 29.