May 18, 2024


Free For All Food

Food Network to preview Joanna Gaines’ new cooking show | Local News

Production and travel disruptions last year because of COVID-19 delayed production of Magnolia Network series, forcing a postponement of the network launch from October to sometime this year.

Most of the network’s programs will not be set in Waco as “Fixer Upper” was, which elevated Waco on the Texas tourism map, but Waco tourism marketing director Carla Pendergraft said that will not matter once COVID-19 starts to come under control and more tourists return to Waco.

Magnolia-related tourist traffic dropped about 10%, from 1.6 million annual visitors to 1.4 million, in the year after “Fixer Upper” left HGTV in 2018, she said. But the Gaineses’ retail empire, publishing and continuing renovation work have kept the couple and Waco in public view.

“In the eyes of the world, Chip and Jo are Waco,” Pendergraft said. “I don’t think they’ve lost any of their appeal.”

While tourism is slowly rebounding within COVID-19 restrictions and public caution, any increase in tourist traffic because of the upcoming Magnolia Network would be welcome news after a 2020 that saw travel-related tourism largely shutdown for months.

The changes imposed by COVID-19 — family visits that did not happen, daily life more centered on the home because of shifts at work and school, families and friends touched by death — may make the Gaineses’ themes of home, relationships and a human touch to craft all the more popular, Pendergraft said.