BEHIND THE SCENES: How Celeb Couples Surprised Small Town With HGTV ‘Takeover’

Jenny and Dave Marrs, Ben and Erin Napier

HGTV HGTV's popular co-hosting couples Jenny & Dave Marrs and Ben & Erin Napier.

When the residents of Fort Morgan, Colo., were told to show up in the center of town for a rally on July 26, they packed Main Street to enjoy a free BBQ lunch and hopefully convince visiting producers from HGTV to feature their small town in a future show.

Little did they know that network superstars Ben and Erin Napier were hiding out with another HGTV power couple, Dave and Jenny Marrs, waiting to surprise the town of 11,000 with news that Season 2 of “Home Town Takeover” would be filmed in Fort Morgan as the stars oversee renovation projects throughout the town.

The Fort Morgan Times reported that as soon as the famous couples “turned the corner near Acapulco Bay restaurant…Main Street erupted into celebration.” The Napiers and Marrses stepped onto a stage, with cameras filming the whole scene, and announced together, “You’re getting a ‘Home Town Takeover!'”

Here’s How the Big Announcement Unfolded in Fort Morgan

Small towns across America vyed for the enviable position Fort Morgan is now in — but the big surprise didn’t happen overnight. In fact, it’s been over two years in the making.

The Fort Morgan Times reported that in early 2020, local resident Ann Iungerich heard HGTV was looking for towns to feature on its network. To be considered, towns needed a population of 40,000 or less, a Main Street in need of a facelift, and historic homes that needed restoration. Iungerich sent in an application along with photos of Fort Morgan’s downtown. She also enlisted local video producer Matt Jackson to create a short film featuring the town’s historic buildings, information about its past, and a possible vision for its future — like a cultural district with art and eateries.

Producers eventually chose Wetumpka, Ala., which was restored and rejuvenated during the first season of “Home Town Takeover,” airing in late 2020. The Napiers, co-hosts of the popular “Home Town” franchise of shows, designed and oversaw 12 renovation projects across the tiny town. Local news station WFSA12 recently reported that the town is thriving two years later, with reruns of the show still driving tourists to the area.

Though Fort Morgan wasn’t chosen in 2020, producers didn’t forget the town’s application. They connected with the Chamber of Commerce’s executive director, Andrew Stieb, who told The Fort Morgan Times he then watched every episode of the first season to understand the premise of the show.

Once HGTV producers said they were coming to town, the special lunchtime rally was announced via the Chamber’s Facebook page. It said, “Fort Morgan is being considered for an HGTV show! Come on down to Main Street and show your hometown pride for the cameras!” Hundreds showed up, including the high school football team and cheerleading squad. Local sponsors provided food, and all attendees were asked to sign a release and wear shirts without logos since the event would be filmed.

When Inguerich got word of the rally, she wondered if the application she’d sent two years before had something to do with HGTV coming to town. She made sure to attend on July 26 and was thrilled to witness the announcement in person, she told friends afterward via her personal Facebook page. “Wow, I sit here tonight still in awe of what has happened in lil ole Fort Morgan…. and I had a part of it,” she wrote.

The Top Secret Announcement Thrilled HGTV Fans Everywhere

Shortly after the surprise announcement in Fort Morgan, Dave Marrs — who grew up in Colorado and co-hosts “Fixer to Fabulous” with wife Jenny — posted a photo of the couples on Main Street. The Fort Morgan Times said that during the event, Marrs told attendees, “We’re going to be spending the next four months renovating homes, businesses, and places all over town.”

Entertainment Tonight reported that the two couples will manage 18 projects to transform some of Fort Morgan’s homes, businesses, and community spaces. The six-episode series will air in early 2023.

The announcement not only surprised people in Fort Morgan, but also HGTV fans across the U.S. who did not expect the show’s return or the pairing of the two popular couples. The first season had been such a massive undertaking for the Napiers that the show was never officially renewed. In fact, in June 2021, Erin Napier answered a fan’s inquiry on Twitter about whether there would ever be a second season of “Home Town Takeover.”

Napier replied, “i’ll be honest, the takeover life is not all that simpatico with family life. it was an amazing adventure for us, but likely the only one like it until (maybe) our girls are much older.”

However, dividing the work between themselves and the Marrs helped sway the Napiers to work their magic on another small town. In her own Instagram post about the announcement, Erin wrote, “Jenny and Dave are going to help us carry the load so we can do more without losing our collective sanity. BLESS Y’ALL MARRSES.”