While Chip and Joanna Gaines are arguably the most popular stars on HGTV, they aren't above two of reality TV's biggest tropes: staging and re-enactments.
A recently posted casting call for Fixer Upper's fifth season, which was confirmed by Huffington Post, features a questionnaire that shows the appearing participants already own homes or are in the process of purchasing a home before the cameras ever roll. This obviously speeds up the process of turning homes into beautiful renovation projects.
Each episode starts with a house hunt, but that's completely staged, as evidenced by the questions, such as: “What is the purchase price of your new home?,” “Where are you in the escrow process?” and “Talking about the home you are considering purchasing- If we could help you turn this home into your dream home, what would it look like?"
This leak confirms a long-rumored aspect of the show, which some previous contestants have stated in interviews.
“You have to be under contract to be on the show. They show you other homes, but you already have one,” former participant David Ridley previously said. “After they select you, they send your house to Chip and Joanna and their design team.”
There are also some other stipulations to appearing on the show. First, you have to be within 40 miles of Waco, Texas, where the show is based. You must also have to have a minimum of $30,000 budgeted for the renovations, which you must accept no matter what.
Also, in true reality TV fashion, applicants must be “outgoing, energetic and fun!”
Huffington Post also points out that these stagings are nothing new for HGTV favorites like Fixer Upper. Jonathan Scott, star of Property Brothers, told the New York Times that they have to make some things look better for TV, but there's still a lot of real work done.
“At the end of the day, it has to be interesting television,” he said. “But when we find a load-bearing wall, we are really finding a load-bearing wall.”