Jim Thomas, senior pastor at Fayetteville First Baptist, and his wife Laura will be featured along with realtor Tonya Jones o
Fayetteville and Fayette County will be featured in an episode of the popular, long running reality show House Hunters at 10 p.m. on Monday. The show, which airs on HGTV, follows Jim and Laura Thomas, a married couple moving from the Dallas, TX area and seeking a new home in the Fayetteville area with the help of their real estate agent Tonya Jones.
Tonya, who will officially celebrate her fifth year as realtor on Monday, says she was contacted by the show's producers a while back. Each episode tends to focus on a particular region and incorporates the various aspects of the local flavor, and the producers were interested in an episode set somewhere in the South Metro Atlanta area. She says the plan was to find a pair of first time home buyers. The Thomas family didn't fit that bill, but they did have the personality for it, and Tonya noticed that when they were looking at homes the two would say things that sounded just like what she'd heard from people on House Hunters. That turned out to be no coincidence, as the two are long time fans.
"We had been fans of the show for several years, to the point that we were quoting the show," Jim says.
As big fans, Jim and Laura were very excited to give it a shot. They filmed a video interview in their rental home at the time and sent it in with fingers crossed. Tonya says that the producers liked the Thomas family right off the bat.
"At the end of the day they want people that are interesting. They gobbled them up," Tonya says.
The excitement of Monday night will be finding out how the hours of shooting is edited together, and it won't just be the Thomas family anticipating the final product. Jim is the senior pastor at Fayetteville First Baptist Church on Stonewall Avenue, and he says the church is buzzing with excitement about seeing their pastor and his family on TV. Jim and Laura are both good natured and quick to laugh about the whole thing, but they are very much interested to see how it turns out.
"Im nervous!" Laura says, laughing. In particular she warned her husband to be careful with his sense of humor while filming. "That's what we joked about before we started filming, because he's got a real sarcastic sense of humor, and I was like you can't use that!"
Jim laughs about it too and doesn't know what to expect, "We'll see it when everyone else sees it, so I may be the biggest jerk in the world, who knows, I mean I have no idea."
He jokes that they may have to do a live commentary of the show on Facebook with stuff like "we didn't mean that" or "Tonya really was that mean."
The good natured couple are friends with Tonya, so the episode may come up short in the dramatic tension department. On the other hand, there's no telling which parts of the filming will be featured. The episode summary on HGTV's website hints at some conflict: "Their two daughters want a large backyard with a pool, but Jim is concerned about the maintenance."
The couple's daughters, Emma Kaye (14) and Jenna (10) will be part of the show, as will Fayetteville First Baptist and the city of Fayetteville itself. It won't be hard for locals to recognize their town with shots of the square downtown as well as City Cafe. Tonya says part of the show's appeal is that it strives to feature the "local flair" of each area it films in.
Tonya will be running a contest on Monday on her Prudential Georgia Realty Facebook page. She will be asking questions throughout the day, trivia about the Thomas' background, and prizes will go to the winners. Readers of this article may find themselves with a slight leg up!
While the final home selection will be left a mystery for now, the Thomas family has been living happily in Fayette County for about a year. For them, the area has been a perfect fit.
"We've loved it," Laura says, "I love the small town community kind of feel but still having Atlanta thirty minutes away. The people have been fabulous. We've just felt loved and accepted right into the community when we moved in."
Jim agrees and is similarly happy with his community at Fayetteville First Baptist, joking, "You just pray they're nice to you, and they have been."