After shocking news that the star couple in HGTV’s “Flip or Flop” were getting divorced, it appears the network has good news for fans of the show, especially in Chicago.
HGTV announced it is developing a “Flip or Flop Chicago” starring another California couple, but based in the Windy City.
The show is currently in its pilot stage and already aired its first episode last month. The pilot, called "Chicago Flippers" for now, stars Mark and Liz Perez.
In the show, the couple flips a “a disaster home that few would ever touch” and turns it into “a dream home new families can still afford.”
"We looked at a few markets and we just fell in love with Chicago for various reasons," Mark Perez said. "One was the opportunity that we’ve seen there in the market and just being there now it’s been an awesome experience for both of us because the community there has welcomed us with open arms. The people there in Chicago have been awesome."
The couple has been flipping homes in Chicago for the last couple of years, particularly on the city's South Side, with nearly two dozen homes already flipped and another 10 in the works, they said. Though they noted weather can often impact a flip, the most surprising difference between California homes and Chicago homes, they said, is the basement space.
"Basements are exciting; you never know what you’re going to find down there," Liz Perez said. "At the end, I love the transformation because you go form these dark rooms, the attic is dark, the basement is dark, and you’re just transforming them into these beautiful spaces."
An "encore" of the Chicago pilot will air March 23.
"If successful, the network will premiere the series 'Flip or Flop Chicago' with them next year," spokesperson Chelsey Riemann told NBC Chicago.
The Chicago version is one of five franchises of the show. Others in Las Vegas and Atlanta are set to premiere in April and this summer, respectively. Shows in Nashville and Texas are also in the works, the company said.
“With the original Flip or Flop, we found that what resonated with viewers was the authenticity, the expertise, the experience and the results they saw in the show,” Allison Page, general manager for U.S. Programming and Development with HGTV, said in a statement. “Because every market is unique, there was an opportunity to highlight what works in various regions by featuring successful people in different locations who had mastered the art of flipping in their town.”
The network said it has been developing the franchise for more than a year.
The husband and wife team behind HGTV's original "Flip or Flop" announced their separation late last year, six months after police were called to their Southern California home over what the couple called an "unfortunate misunderstanding."
After seven years of marriage and two children together, Tarek El Moussa formally filed for divorce in January.
While the Chicago franchise does not yet have a premiere date, HGTV said it is "thrilled to bring new chapters, new stories and new talent to complement a series that's been a big success on its air."
As for Mark and Liz Perez, they hope their pilot will soon turn into a series.
"It’s really nice for us to be receiving all this positive feedback. I don’t think we’ve got any negative," Liz Perez said. "It’s been an amazing feeling really."
They noted that while flipping homes is "definitely not for the faint of heart," the most rewarding part of their flips has been the impact it has made on the Chicago community.
"It’s positive feedback when you get that community or that neighborhood or that township to come to you, shake your hand and thank you for taking that what we call 'the ugly duckling' in the neighborhood," Mark Perez said. "That part of it is what we really enjoy."