Don't Change the Channel
Scoot over, Waco. Fort Worth will step into HGTV's Lone Star State spotlight with the premiere of Flip or Flop Fort Worth on Thursday, November 2 at 8 pm.
A spin-off of the hit Flip or Flop series, the Fort Worth version will star husband-wife team Andy and Ashley Williams — he, a real estate agent and home renovation expert, and she, a designer — as they purchase, renovate, and transform rundown properties into gorgeous family homes throughout the area.
Fans will be tempted to compare Andy and Ashley to Flip or Flop's original hosts, Tarek and Christina El Moussa, and also to the most famous TV fixer upper couple of all time. But the network is promising viewers plenty to love about the new show — including Fort Worth itself.
Here, five things local viewers can expect from Flip or Flop Fort Worth:
1. You'll see neighborhoods you know.
TV shows notoriously mix up Fort Worth and Dallas. But from what we know, this show is not going to pass off Highland Park or Frisco as Fort Worth — although it might step slightly beyond the city limits.
Thursday night's episode restores a cottage in Fort Worth's Arlington Heights. Another takes place in the Burton Hill neighborhood; another, in River Oaks. At least one episode, the pilot — which aired in February as Flipping Texas — renovated a home in Hurst.
The hosts and their kids go "driving for dollars” in their car, they say, spotting houses that are 1) ugly, 2) have high grass, and 3) have mail spilling out of mailboxes. So that leaves it open to any Fort Worth-area neighborhood without a strict HOA.
2. You'll hear a lot about military veterans.
Andy and Ashley say the show is part of their larger commitment to highlight and help military veterans. They often hire veterans to assist on their projects, including landscape designer Andrew Turner, who helps add curb appeal to several homes during the season.
It's not just a mission they're on; it's who they are. The couple met in Baghdad. She served in the Army, and he was a U.S. Marine who later went back to the Middle East as a civilian contractor. Andy has said in interviews that a near-miss with an explosion prompted him to think about life after the military and turned his focus toward real estate.
His Fort Worth-based real estate agency is even called Recon Realty, and Ashley calls her husband "a true recon Marine."
“My check was not cashed. I get to chase my dreams and build a life here at home,” Andy says on HGTV.com. “So I have a fiduciary duty to every Marine before and after me to make sure that service is not a sacrifice. So I continue to serve.”
3. You'll fall in love with the family.
Andy and Ashley have two kids under age 5, Amina and Ashton. They call their family the “A-Team” — and A could stand for adorable. Expect to see the little ones driving around in cars with them, helping to scout flip homes. But don't expect a "Leave it to Beaver" household.
Andy and Ashley describe themselves as strong-minded individuals, and they both can be direct. He admits he takes his frustrations out on highly physical “demo days." She recalls that once, in her transition back to civilian life, a boss criticized her for being too “intense."
Every episode of Flip or Flop requires grace under fire to deal with leaky pipes or botched wiring. We expect them to show it in spades — and then take their kids out for ice cream.
4. Expect to learn about real estate.
When it comes to flipping, Andy and Ashley know what they're doing. They were involved in more than 100 real estate deals and flipped more than 50 homes before HGTV came calling. In fact, they weren't looking for TV fame, they say. While on vacation two years ago, they happened to talk to a man about flipping homes, and he happened to be a TV guy who connected them with the network.
Andy's veterans-focused real estate business was the subject of a recent Forbes magazine article titled, "I Want to Show the World that Entrepreneurs Like Me Can Exist." He bought his first real estate investment at age 22 and developed a strategy but didn't make money right away. It took time, flexibility, patience, and business allies to pull it together. His success prompted the magazine to dub him "the self-made real estate mogul for the Post-9/11 generation."
Cameras or no cameras, Andy and Ashley remain focused on turning a profit. “Our flips can get a bit chaotic,” Ashley says in an HGTV release. “But that’s good when flipping a house because it means things are rolling and you’re getting closer to selling the home for top dollar.”
5. Expect to see another season.
The first season is just nine episodes, but HGTV is throwing some serious marketing heft behind it, with stories running in national publications and trailers running all over the network's website.
This is not a regional venture, it seems.
We don't yet have news of a second season. But with that other Texas-based HGTV show fixin' to start its last hurrah, Flip or Flop Fort Worth could earn the lone star on the HGTV map.
A free premiere watch party will take place starting at 7 pm Thursday, November 2 on the lawn of the Stockyards Exchange Building, 131 E. Exchange Ave., Fort Worth. It will include family-friendly games, a screening of the show, and Q&A with stars Andy and Ashley Williams. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs. For more information visit www.FortWorth.com/WatchParty.