Whether or not Todd Chrisley really knows best, he does know what's best for TV. The Atlanta family man's reality show, Chrisley Knows Best, struck a chord with viewers in Season 1, making it USA Network's first breakout reality hit.
Chrisley Knows Best is back for Season 2 on Tuesday, Oct. 14 (10/9c), and USA is looking at ways to capitalize on the show's success as it expands into more reality TV.
"From his voice to his Toddisms to his point of view, he's iconic, he stands out, he's noisy, he's funny, and he's got a big heart," says USA executive vice president Jackie de Crinis. "It's a modern day Father Knows Best. Without being scripted, he has a unique voice. He's a great character. It just blends nicely with our other programs. It's a great surprise that it plays like a sitcom."
As Season 2 begins, Chrisley is again seen reacting to the chaos around him as his world is rocked: His wife, Julie, is heading back to work in real estate. His son Chase is turning 18. His teenage daughter Savannah is starting to date. And the family recently moved into a new, smaller (12,600 square feet, down from 30,000 square feet) Atlanta home. Not seen on camera, but just as buzzy: All that speculation about his sexuality. ("I'm not gay," he recently told TV Guide Magazine, "and I also don't consider being called gay an insult.")
TV Guide Magazine spoke with Chrisley about what to expect this season.
TV Guide Magazine: Give us some Season 2 highlights.
Chrisley: Chase is turning 18 and Savannah is now being allowed to date, although very selectively and very monitored. With my mother, there are days I think to myself, "I've just taken another child to raise." She has become way more liberal in some perspectives than what we were brought up with. She tells me to chill out, and I think, "Who is this woman?" Julie going back to work is a big deal. We've got a lot of change. We've moved, and that was a huge transition for us because we had our home on the market for four years. The economy crashed and no one was buying $6 million homes in Atlanta. Our businesses are doing well, so there's a lot of stuff you'll see in the upcoming episodes.
TV Guide Magazine: How has your life changed with the success of Chrisley Knows Best?
Chrisley: Not a huge amount. We're very blessed with our affiliation with USA and blessed that we've got a successful show. But as far as the day-to-day grind of bringing up children and a marriage and a business, we're still doing the same things we did before Season 1.
TV Guide Magazine: It seems like Season 2 will be more chaotic than Season 1. Have things gotten crazier? Or as you say at the end of the premiere, "cray cray"?
Chrisley: We've got a few more challenges. We're dealing with Chase's attitude of being a grown man. Savannah has started dating. We have our granddaughter now living with us full time, and starting to raise a child again at age 46 is a lot different than starting at 26. It's amazing that between Season 1 and Season 2 the family dynamics have changed. We've got junior and senior prom to contend with. We've got Chase's graduation coming up. We have to worry about what college he's going to. Managing expectations and trying to keep our children as close to normal. And I never use "normal" to describe the Chrisleys.
TV Guide Magazine: Where do those "Toddisms" come from?
Chrisley: I was a very good kid. I never got into trouble. I never drank, I never tried pot, I never smoked a cigarette. But I did have a little bit of a mouth. And my mother would always come back with these sayings. Hearing them as a child, you carry them forward. If they come up, they come out.
TV Guide Magazine: Speaking of your mom, she seems to be having a rebirth this season.
Chrisley: It's almost like a second wind. We lost my dad in 2012. The only guy she ever dated. The only guy she ever kissed. And she's always been included in my life, from childhood until today. I talk to my mother six to eight times a day. My wife talks to her probably the same amount of time. We try to keep pulling her forward. It's not an obligation; it's an honor and a pleasure to have my mother so involved in my family.
TV Guide Magazine: In the Season 2 premiere, Savannah goes on a date with a former American Idol contestant who direct messages her. Raising teenagers in this social media age has got to be tough.
Chrisley: It's unfortunate that kids have the kind of access they do to social media. I think it has stripped away a lot of the innocence of our children. There's too much exposure to it. There are things that children shouldn't know until a certain age. But because of social media and the access to this information, our children are not children after a certain age.
TV Guide Magazine: Your show seems to hit a chord with viewers when it comes to chronicling issues that most families face.
Chrisley: Before Season 1 no one knew who we were. Divine intervention, coupled with how USA marketed and branded the show, helped. We are dealing with the exact same thing that 95 percent of American families deal with. Everyone's problems are relative to their situation. But there is no room for error here. I have them from the time they're born to the time they're 18 years old. I remind Chase the only thing he can do now that he couldn't before is vote and rent an apartment. And if he keeps running his mouth, he's gonna do the latter.
(With additional reporting by Ingela Ratledge)