“I think one of the problems with our industry is that once there’s one, it’s ‘We need 17 of that exact same thing,’ ” said Patrick Jager, who helped develop HGTV juggernaut “Fixer Upper,” starring a husband-wife contractor-designer team from Waco, Tex. “Four years ago it was ‘What’s our “Duck Dynasty?” ’ Now it’s ‘What’s our “Fixer Upper?” ’ Everyone chases the same thing because they say that’s what everybody wants to see. That’s a problem, because then we’re all trying to depict the same type of person.”
So how do you solve the issue? One key is to erase the idea that producers who don’t live in New York or Los Angeles are “outsiders.” Members of a panel that featured producers and executives from Knoxville, Tenn.; Denver; St. Louis and Minneapolis said although plenty of networks are interested in shows from the flyover states, there’s definitely still a “cool kid” mentality of certain coastal brands. Some people still ask, “Why is your company there?”
“If we’re trying to bridge this divide between the urban and the rural and try to tell stories, post-November, about our world, that mind-set within our group has to change,” said Jager, who runs the Denver-based CORE Innovation Group.