Unfortunately, Upstate New York, your small towns and villages just aren’t camera-ready enough for their reality TV debut. On July 2 (today), HGTV announced, after a months-long process, that it had chosen Wetumpka, AL, as the focus of its upcoming six-part Home Town spinoff series, Home Town Takeover.
To jog your memory, more than a dozen towns and villages in Upstate New York, including a number in the Capital Region, created videos and microsites to attempt to woo the producers of the popular cable channel to pick them. The New York towns/villages included: Albany County’s Ravena; Rensselaer County’s Hoosick Falls; Washington County’s Whitehall, Fort Edward, Cambridge and Salem; Fulton County’s Gloversville and Johnstown; Broome County’s Endicott; Erie County’s Angola and Evans; Delaware County’s Deposit; St. Lawrence County’s Massena; Cattaraugus County’s Franklinville; Franklin County’s Malone; Madison County’s Oneida; Chemung County’s Elmira; Oneida County’s Boonville; Orleans County’s Albion; Dutchess County’s Wappingers Falls; Ulster County’s Ellenville; and Herkimer County’s Little Falls.
The upcoming six-part spinoff series, which is set to air in 2021, will feature Home Town co-hosts Ben and Erin Napier, along with some special guests, making over the Alabama town. Wetumpka, which has a population of just 8,278, is in dire need of a proper makeover, and the Napiers are up to the task. “Ben and I often speak about our love of small town living and what that lifestyle means to people who live in one,” says Erin. “The people of Wetumpka know they have a small town worth saving, and now the world will see why this tight-knit community deserves a fresh start.” During the six-part spinoff, the Napiers will be renovating private residences, a public gathering space and several buildings that house small businesses in the town.
Wetumpka was chosen from among 500,000 photo and video submissions, which represent more than 2,600 towns across the United States. The Alabama town, located on the scenic Coosa River and known as “a city of natural beauty,” attracts tourists to its annual whitewater festival and to the Wetumpka Impact Crater, a six-mile-wide crater caused by an asteroid hit some 85 million years ago. Why Wetumpka? According to an HGTV rep, “Wetumpka’s submission successfully showcased the community’s collective desire to champion revitalization, highlighted the work they had already done to improve the town and telegraphed a collective spirit of excitement and optimism.”
Can’t wait for 2021? You’ll get to see Wetumpka residents receiving the good news in tonight’s HGTV special, Home Town: Small Town Salute, set to air at 8pm ET.
It’s unclear how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect the show’s filming—if at all. (It may have already occurred.) Per the latest data numbers, Alabama has nearly 40,000 COVID cases, with a total of 985 deaths. In recent weeks, following the state’s reopening, daily cases have skyrocketed.