Of things Hollywood believes in, attempting to duplicate success is high on the list. The huge popularity of Joanna and Chip Gaines in “Fixer Upper” led to a search for other “engaging couples who remodel houses”. While there are multiple remodeling shows with various combinations, “Home Time”, has Erin and Ben Napier in Laurel, MS. She is perky and petite and he is hefty with a beard. They are committed to helping revitalize their town and especially focus on older homes. Most are of course done for families and individuals and include a range of sizes and budgets.
Last year, HGTV made the decision to launch a major effort with Erin and Ben taking the lead role for a four-month program of “Home Town Takeover”. (hgtv home town takeover.com) They invited small towns (under 40,000) all across the country to apply to be selected to have 12 properties, a mix of residences and businesses, renovated to try and spur revival of a struggling area. Although the Napiers have the lead, numerous well-known other HGTV remodel personalities will come in to do some of the projects. There were 5,000 applicants and Wetumpka, Alabama, population: 8,278, was chosen. In the way that often happens, larger stores and services offered about twenty miles away continued to drain business from them. They worked out a plan for revitalization and were making progress when a tornado tore through destroying much of what they had accomplished.
The first episode aired last night of a historic house selected as was a young couple who has opened their home to foster boys alongside their two sons. A woman trying to make a go of her clothing story was the business chosen and until Erin and Ben appeared, none of them knew they were going to be helped. On a different project, a long expanse of wall at an entry point to the town is having a welcoming mural painted with the local high school art teacher in charge of some students. I’m not certain of how many episodes there will be, but it is a wonderful series if you enjoy this kind of show.