(Photo: Twitter/Jen Hatmaker)
Christian blogger and author Jen Hatmaker has announced that she and her family will take part in a new reality television series for the HGTV home improvement network. The reality show will follow the Austin, Texas-based family of seven as they renovate their recently purchase, 105-year-old home.
Hatmaker is an Austin-area blogger, author, and speaker who has written nine books on Christian ministry for women. She and her husband Brandon, who she describes as a "tattooed, Harley-riding pastor," founded Austin New Church, described on Brandon's website as a "faith community focused on equipping the body to serve the poor and marginalized of Austin." Brandon also co-founded "Restore Communities," an organization that facilitates relationships between churches and non-profits in Austin and beyond for the betterment of the community.
Jen Hatmaker's prolific blog writing landed her a spot on the "Today" show in June for a post entitled "The Worst End of School Year Mom Ever," and shortly after the airing, Hatmaker writes that she received an email from HGTV inquiring about a possible reality show that would include her, her husband, and their five children, two of whom are adopted from Ethiopia.
Hatmaker writes that HGTV thought their family fit a "quirky wholesome category," referencing the great success of the A&E wholesome reality show "Duck Dynasty" that follows an evangelical family in Louisiana who make duck calls for a living. The show became the most watched reality show ever on cable with record-breaking ratings in its fourth season, currently airing.
"We told the [HGTV network], 'Um, we are overtly Christian. This isn't even a gray area.' And they said, 'Yes. We want it all: your family, your prayers, your church, your poor people, your nonprofits, your chaos, your humor. We want you to be exactly who you are'," Hatmaker writes on her blog.
"This feels monumental and special and rare. Our goal is to steward this opportunity with immense care and precision. This little light of mine […] we're gonna let it shine," the blogger adds.
Hatmaker is quick to note that she warmly embraces the chaos of her large family, writing "crazy is as crazy does [...] [The cameramen] can only pick up what we lay down, savvy? So in other words, we are doomed, cause we can lay us down some crazy." She adds, however, that producers at HGTV have been clear in saying their reality show will be the wholesome type, not the scandalous or dramatic type that mirrors past reality show programs.
"My readers have long told me they were waiting for some Hatmaker show if, for no other reason, the laughs, which we would undoubtedly provide. After much vetting, we believe HGTV [...] will treat our family, our home, our actual lives, and our community with respect and care," Hatmaker writes.
"We trust them to handle this show in a way that is good for everyone: for our little town, our new neighbors, our family and friends, and primarily the Kingdom, because we love these more than life and none are worth sacrificing over hand-scraped wood floors," she adds.
The couple reportedly filmed part of the series with a film crew in Austin last month, and the network is in the preliminary stages of production for the series.
Christian themes in television have seen an upsurge this past year after initial shows gained record-breaking ratings. The History Channel miniseries "The Bible," for example, brought in over 100 million views during its airing in March of this year. The National Geographic followed suit, recently debuting "Snake Salvation," a reality show following the lives of two snake-handling, Pentecostal pastors.