The Maine Cabin Masters Reveal How Chip & Joanna Gaines' Kids Helped Save Their Show

The series became a binge-able favorite during pandemic lockdown as viewers fantasized about escaping to a remote "camp" like the homes the stars rehab

2021--Ryan Eldrigde, Ashley Morrill, Chase Morrill, Matt DIx, and Jared Baker posing for a portrait, as seen on Maine Cabin Masters, Season 9.
Photo: Magnolia Network

The stars of Maine Cabin Masters may have Chip and Joanna Gaines's kids to thank for helping to save their show.

When the DIY Network shuttered to make way for the Fixer Upper stars' own channel in January 2022, the rustic renovation series was one of the few they handpicked to keep on.

When they shared the good news, the Gaineses revealed to Cabin Masters star Chase Morrill one reason why: "They said, 'It's funny, we don't own a TV, but every time we pick the kids up from their grandparents', we ask them what they were doing. They're like, "Watching Maine Cabin Masters,"' he tells PEOPLE in this week's issue.

Morrill is grateful to have found "a home" for the show, though his charmingly rough-around-the-edges crew — made up of his decorator sister Ashley Morrill, her husband Ryan Eldridge, and their childhood friends Matt "Dixie" Dix and Jared "Jedi" Baker — joke they're not sure how well they fit in with their more polished peers on the Magnolia Network: "They're more like dandelions," jokes Ashley.

The show, currently in its seventh season, follows its heavily bearded and unmistakably New England accented stars as they restore decrepit family "camps," (as vacation cabins are known in the region), often in remote locations and amid treacherous weather.

It became a binge-able favorite during the early days of pandemic lockdown as viewers fantasized about escaping to a tiny retreat in an isolated spot like its bucolic central Maine setting. In 2020, Cabin Masters was the DIY Network's highest rated regularly scheduled program, with more than 10.2 million viewers. (Magnolia Network is currently airing "best of" episodes while they film a new season.)

The stars' business, Kennebec Cabin Company, currently has a waitlist of more than 3,000 applicants who want their home rehabbed. "It still doesn't seem real," says Ryan. "It's a lot."

The series' popularity has also made an impact on the stars' small town of Manchester (about an hour north of Portland) which has become a popular tourist destination, not unlike the Gaineses' Magnolia Market at the Silos in Waco, Texas, though on a much smaller scale for now.

There's a Kennebec Cabin Company store, where visitors can purchase locally made pieces that have been featured on the show as well as Cabin Masters swag, and the Wood Shed bar out back, which hosts locals and fans who come from around the country.

"There's restaurants popping up. The local theater is getting redone. It really is changing a lot and I'm proud to say we have had something to do with it," says Ryan.

One recent visitor told them the unlikely celebrities are the best PR the state could ask for. "People tell us that they moved here just because of the show," says Ashley. "We've been given an amazing opportunity. And to see how it's already helped some small businesses and what we can provide our employees, we're very, very grateful."

"It's genuine too," says Chase. "Because we all live here. We're all from here. We don't want to be anywhere else, so we're proud to show off where we live and the beauty of it."

Maine Cabin Masters airs Mondays at 9PM EST on Magnolia Network

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