For the past five years, HGTV superstars Ben Napier and Erin Napier have illustrated their sincere heart and soul with renovation after renovation through their show, Home Town, but now the affable couple is paying it forward with their newest project, Home Town Takeover — a six-episode event series making over an entire town in Alabama. Premiering Sunday, May 2 at 8 p.m. ET on HGTV and streaming the same day on discovery+, the couple tells PopCulture.com that not only was the experience fun for them to renovate, restore and uplift scores of historic homes and businesses across the township of Wetumpka, but it was an incredibly rewarding experience.
Sharing how the people they met were a big part of making their experience in the town of just more than 8,000 a humbling moment for the couple, they reveal that they made some "really good friends" while renovating the town during the four-month span. "We met some wonderful people there, but honestly, they felt just like the same people we know in Laurel [Mississippi]," Erin said in our series, PopCulture @Home.
"That's the thing that we talk a lot about," Ben added. "We used to go and speak in small towns a lot and you know, talk about what makes your place special and it's the people it's not the buildings, not the architecture. Those are the things that make it, you know, visually interesting — but the things that make it great are the people that live there."
Echoing his sentiment, Erin chimes in that just "seeing what happens" a year from now, five years or even 10, will be the ultimate test for not just the couple but also the town. "What is Wetumpka going to be? That'll be exciting to see," she said.
While the series will also see the HGTV stars joined by some of the network favorites like Mina Starsiak Hawk, Jasmine Roth and Steve Ford alongside celebrity guests, don't count on them all working together. Due to COVID-19 restrictions during the middle of the shooting, Ben admits it was like "ships in the night" when collaborating and working together. "We would be leaving Wetumpka and they would be arriving and we would be FaceTiming with them," he said.
As Erin states, they "couldn't have done any of it without them," Ben interjects how they were supposed to wrap Home Town Takeover before wrapping Season 5 of their series, Home Town. "It all got wadded up together and that was the only way we could make it happen was to be able to go back and forth," he said. "Because I mean, all of us at HGTV, we all have our own shows and our careers and our jobs and our businesses, and this was tacking something extra onto it for us. So, it couldn't have been possible without all of them."
Among the celebrities joining the couple in Wetumpka are Sheryl Crow, a fellow small-town alum and big Home Town fan. "Sheryl is like, the greatest person in the world. We connected and had another idea for a show that we might still do one day — I'm not giving up on it," Ben teased. "But we were always like, 'How could we work together?' and then this was a way that we could say, 'Hey could you come and you know, be a morale booster?'"
With the premiere of Home Town Takeover just hours away, the Napiers admit while filming the series was a lot of fun, they might not renovate another town just yet. "I don't think we can," Erin laughed. "With a baby on the way, I think our roots are here."
Ben adds that they plan to visit as many small towns as they can as the pair are frequent travelers. "We go to small towns, like when we vacation — again, we love to go to New York, we love it. I call it my other hometown. But we love to visit these small towns on the old two-lane highways, and we like to travel the way our parents grew up traveling."
As he adds the pair "can't wait to visit Wetumpka again" and see how it's flourished following their renovation help, Erin says, "we won't stop rooting for small town America."
Ben and Erin Napier can be seen in the six-episode event series, Home Town Takeover, premiering May 2 at 8 p.m. ET on HGTV and available to stream on discovery+ beginning May 2. For more with the Napiers, stick to PopCulture for the latest.