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Sunday, August 19, 2012

washingtonpost.com: Change or Die Is TLC Approaching a Tipping Point With Its Reality Shows?

Here's an interesting article that tries to answer the question - Has TLC programming finally 'jumped the shark' with its newest reality shows. What's interesting is that Sister Wives was mentioned only in passing, almost like the next flavor of the month in the reality family drama genre started by Jon and Kate not so many years ago.

The rest of the article discusses what type of reality programming TLC is moving towards in order to remain competitive. So the question remains, does TLC still see a future in family faux-reality shows like Sister Wives, or will Honey Boo Hoo and six (SIX!) new wedding shows shove Kody Brown and his Sister Wives into reality-show oblivion.

What are your thoughts?

You can read the entire article at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/change-or-die-is-tlc-approaching-a-tipping-point-with-its-reality-shows/2012/08/16/541066f8-c9df-11e1-a740-17536be91cc6_story_3.html

Change or die: Is TLC approaching a tipping point with its reality shows?

By Danielle Douglas, Published: August 17

Elevator doors open. And there they are — Stacy, Clinton and even Randy, cast members from TLC’s “What Not to Wear” and “Say Yes to the Dress,” gazing out from life-size murals adorning the walls of the cable network’s offices.

At every turn of the sixth-floor digs in the headquarters of parent company Discovery Communications, TLC’s reality-show stars greet you.

Even the furniture in the waiting area — cupcake-shaped chairs tucked into a cake stand table — is a nod to Washington’s sibling bakers and Jersey’s pastry chieftain whose antics have gained a following for “D.C. Cupcakes” and “Cake Boss,” respectively.

Every colorful quirk of the decor reflects the network’s dedicated exploration of eccentricity. TLC revels in documenting everyday people living life, no matter how bizarre or mundane.

It’s a Wednesday morning in Silver Spring, and Eileen O’Neill, president of TLC and Discovery networks, is ready to talk about vision. She makes her way into the conference room, where general manager Amy Winter is already seated.

Winter is the young, urbane optimist, O’Neill the thoughtful pragmatist. They epitomize TLC’s target audience: women intrigued by the world around them.

“Whether it’s something as controversial as polygamy or as amenable as a baker’s shop, the aim is for the audience to come away with something of value and interest,” O’Neill said when asked about TLC’s programming goals.

What separates TLC from other networks, Winter chimes in, is its “compelling characters” who “tell their stories in a very openhearted way.” Audiences tune in for the authenticity of those stories, for the reality.

Reality TV is at the heart of TLC’s formula, as it is with much of cable television’s, but a sea change may be occurring: Competing networks such as Bravo and History are turning to scripted programming to appeal to an increasingly fragmented audience and to attract ad dollars.

Broadcast networks have long aired original scripted series, while cable channels were subsisting off reruns, documentaries and old movies. Many cable execs found the cost of producing scripted shows prohibitive, yet a few gave it a shot, with mixed results.

The popularity of cheaply produced reality shows gave cable channels little reason to diversify their lineup. But the enduring success of scripted shows such as “Mad Men” on AMC is encouraging more networks to venture into the format.

Wading into scripted programming might be the next logical step in TLC’s evolution.


Read the rest of the article at http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/change-or-die-is-tlc-approaching-a-tipping-point-with-its-reality-shows/2012/08/16/541066f8-c9df-11e1-a740-17536be91cc6_story_3.html

47 comments:

  1. well if that's the case, and there's no more sisterwives..can this blog become the honey boo boo spot or Toddlers and tiaras... they are just as messed up as the kodster's familes

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  2. Apparently it is all about the bottom line numbers. And as long as TLC can generate income, especially with shows that have only 20% of the production costs compared to regular scripted shows, they will milk these bottom feeder shows as long as they can.

    Seriously, how many wedding shows can there be?
    How many 'unusual/ bizarre' families and people can they showcase?...before it all becomes a blur and a bore?
    But for now, TLC has become the rag-mag of the industry as they smile and collect the monies $$.

    I guess it is like the old tongue-in-cheek saying..."It's a crappy job, but someone has to do it."

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  3. I have to admit that I enjoyed watching Honey Boo Boo. I also understand though that poor kid is going to be a methhead by the time she hits 15. I think her mother is a bully and will use her daughter as her meal ticket for as long as she can. TLC is trying to make this family out to be fun loving, likable, hillbillies when in reality I think there's a darker reality to that family, the dad looks like a walking corpse for example. I also think that it won't last long. As for the Browns, unless they make their show interesting and entertaining, it's done. I won't be tuning in next season if it's anything as awful and boring as this season was.

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    1. I agree, poor kid will end up 16 and pregnat just like her sister. The mom June is disgusting! I don't find her happy redneck demeanor believeable. She is so lazy. Her poor husband looks like a corpse because he's the only one working. He has a fat, lazy wife who doesn't mind him working to death. June has potential too, which is the sad thing. All that xtreme couponing means she's not braindead. If she can rope in tv shows she's got some kinda marketable skill. Her feeds her kids disgustingly unhealthy food. Poor Alana is fat and how old is she? Just a sad situation.

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    2. I agree that June has potential, she can certainly make and save a buck. She just overall makes me cringe, especially her neck scum. You're totally right with her being LAZY especially in the feeding her kids anything nutritious category. Seriously watching this family makes me want to eat a salad and go for a long run afterwards!!lol

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    3. On a side note, I lived in rural Louisiana for about 3 years while my (army) husband was stationed there. We saw SO many people in that area like June. I think TLC ought to just go set up camp in Leesville, LA and do a live feed. It would be "Honey Boo Boo" + "Hoarders" + "Billy the Exterminator" + any other circus weirdness you could think of.

      (Ok, maybe not polygamists).

      I would probably watch, and I had to LIVE it for years. I will never forget the time I was at Walmart and saw a lady in an electric scooter driving around and eating a giant tub of cheesecake filling with her hand . . .

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    4. Speaking as a person who half her family are hillbillies (my dad's side), the whole show just sickens me. I remember the days when TLC didn't exploit people which is what they are doing to this family. It's not funny; there putting these people out there to be made fun of. And based on what I've seen, I wonder if the family is smart enough to realize that.

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  4. Need me a sausage top....August 20, 2012 at 10:03 AM

    Of course the Sister Wives will fade away soon. As soon as people stop talking about them and watching them. Should be any day now.

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  5. Peanut Butter FritosAugust 20, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    Interesting lack of attention on the Browns, given they are #1 on TLC right now. I don't think TLC is struggling, and I really doubt the Browns are anywhere as expensive as a scripted show (and it shows!). If anything, putting some more resources into making the Browns have a coherent show that is actually fun might help, like this Big Love road trip, I hope.

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  6. I love this blog, but it is difficult to to keep it going when there in nothing happening with those sisterwives. I agree with Schnauzermom, please change it to Honey BooBoo if the Sisterwives get the heave ho.

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  7. I have been watching TLC for over a decade now. Iam probably the person who they target. At first I was a single teenage female who loved to watch the wacky shows. Then I got older and became a married mom. I watched the duggars ever since they were a TV special who had 16 kids. I watch a Baby Show in the am, what not to wear in the afternoon, and all those weird shows at night. Not all the same day...I have have 4 kids who take up a lot of time, so my TV watching is sporatic. Sister Wives caught my eye because Iam Mormon, so I have a built in hatred for polyg. And I wanted to see how horrible it was. The mass wedding shows I don't care for. Same w/honey boo boo. But I do want to see abby & brittney. Love those girls!

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    Replies
    1. I love Abby and Brittney too, they sre truly remarkable!

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  8. When SW goes off the air, I'd still like to come to this blog. Without this little online community here on SWB, I probably never wouldve come across the stories of Carolyn and Flora Jessop, Elissa Wall, and many others. At the same time, I'd seriously love some Honey Boo Boo discussions as well!! Given, all "reality" shows have high, high incidences of pre planned/scripted elements, that show makes me laugh, unlike some of the other garbage out there (Jersey Shore). Sister Wives will just be another forgotten chapter in the TLC book, right next to Jon and Kate.

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  9. What makes this exceptional IMO is the theory and history and repercussions of polygamy that are discussed intelligently.
    I have no objection to an occasional discussion og Honey Boo Boo but they and their story are not in the same league. I have not looked but I am sure there are plenty of BooBoo Without Pity blogs out there.

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    Replies
    1. Yes but the problem with that is it's kinda all been said already!! So unless there's some flexability in the topic of the blog it will sputter out and it'd be kinda nice to keep it going.

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  10. I could only watch 5 minutes of Honey Boo Boo before I became nauseated and had to turn off the TV and leave the room.

    In that 5 minutes I learned that the young daughter (who looks like she is a chubby 14 year old) is pregnant, that the baby shower games included a contest to see how fast the girls can drink something (booze?) from a baby bottle, and that the entire family is overweight.

    yet, it was the oogieness factor of this crew that drove me from the room. I just find them repulsive.

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    1. I couldn't even make it that far in. It was disturbing.

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    2. I watched a clip on youtube and was horrified. I don't really like the fact that little girls are in beauty pageants anyway. WTF is that go go juice? do they put some type of speed in mountain dew?

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  11. Ya'll better just "Red-neckognize"!! .....Hahahahahaha

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  12. Pawprint, I felt the same way. To me the entire show is nothing but exploitation. I refuse to watch the show knowing that theses people are paid to act this way. Are they getting a 79k per episode reward for being ignorant?

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    Replies
    1. They eat roadkill and practically live on train tracks so ya I sure hope they're getting at least 79K to publicly humiliate themselves.

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    2. I had no idea what it was (here tlc isn't airing it yet). I looked it up and watched two episodes. No words.

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  13. The "My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding" show is just horrible. I liked the British version, but I couldn't watch more than a half hour of the American one. Blech.

    I do like the "Say Yes to the Dress" that they do for plus-sized women. I love seeing the brides say they feel beautiful. Every bride should.

    I remember the first time I saw a "The Learning Channel" show. I had just gotten cable and was flipping through the stations, and saw what I originally thought was someone cutting into a raw chicken. Then the narrator said something about the "vas deferens" and I realized I was watching a vasectomy!

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  14. As long as there are sister wives (lowercase), there will be plenty to chat about here. I have a feeling Kody and Krew will hang around in the public eye as long as possible..even after the show gets cancelled.

    Plus, we've gotta keep the blog going so we have somewhere to discuss the tell-all books that the kids will write in a few years!! MADDIE, I'M LOOKIN' AT YOU!! :)

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    Replies
    1. Bargain Babe,

      Good point !!! :)))))

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  15. I agree with "Ellen" that Say Yes to the Dress is a good show, HOWEVER, to me there shouldn't be a separate show for the plus-sized women. That's ridiculous. What is next? Separating the soon-to-be brides by race or religion?

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    Replies
    1. I actually prefer the shows for the plus-sized women. It's so satisfying to see them joyous in their dresses. The sales people always know how to make them feel beautiful.

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  16. Does anybody know when Sister Wives will be coming back?

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  17. ORIGIN(of)tank-over-tee!August 21, 2012 at 7:03 PM

    FOUND!! -- The Origin of Sister Wive's tank-over-tee!

    And it's outta' this world.

    http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/eeff/?pfm=homepage_Featured_6_eeff

    signed,
    the entity formally known as SoilentGreen

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  18. I think Sister Wives will continue at least another season because they are actually interesting because there is so much drama with the jealousy between the wives. Also, there is the consternation that any woman would want to share a man like Kody. I just hope they save the money they make to improve their children's lives. I do think "What Not To Wear" is a really good show. I love Stacy and Clinton and am always amazed at the transformations they can do. Not only can a person learn how they should dress, but it is nice to see the women's self esteem elevate. As far as "Honey Boo Boo" goes, there are parts of the show that are funny. I think there is a lot of love in the family, but they have never really learned how they should act. It would be great if TLC had a nutritionist work with them.

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    Replies
    1. It must cost a lot of money to take that family to Disneyland all the time. Not to mention college costs for Logan, they are blowing through their money pretty quick. And who can watch a show where the mother feeds her child caffiene and whose head and neck looks like somebody's thumb?

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  19. Need me a Sausage TopAugust 22, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    Can we get something going for a "Kodster" harcut, like we did the T-shirt thing? Techy things aren't my bag, but I know a lot of you out there are good at it.

    Could be a hoot!.....Just sayin....

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    Replies
    1. I sent in a photoshop Kody haircut "makeover" template a few weeks ago but only got a brief response saying it would be forwarded to Mister Sister. I assumed it was dropped because there was no interest . . . Confirm/deny, any of the admins?

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    2. I forwarded your email to MS. Unfortunately, MS is having major computer problems. So the best I can say is to have patience until she is up and running again!

      Thanks!

      Delete
  20. What would save Sister Wives is if Janelle and/or Christine had gastric bypass surgery, got super skinny and moved on. Now that would be compelling.

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    Replies
    1. Both women are beautiful! Why anyone would suggest they would need to be 'super skinny' to move on is unfathomable!

      I am really at a loss for words!

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    2. I have to agree with Bored. That would be something to watch!

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  21. I finally got around to watching Honey Boo Boo last night and truthfully I don't know what I think about it. I'm usually the one who's spouting out what everyone else thinks, but is too afraid to say, and I'm absolutely speechless after watching that show. I think this family can give the kodster +4 a run for their money.

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  22. Here is a new TLC show idea. Stacy and Clinton decide to do a makeover on June (Honey Boo Boo's mother) and Kody at the same time. While June and Kody are comparing butt sweat, they realize they are made for each other and she becomes wife #5. Honey Boo Boo and her sisters move in with Meri because she has plenty of room in her new house. They go four-wheeling, mud bogging and eat lots of mock tapioca. Sugar Bear becomes jealous and when he goes in search of June, he meets the rest of Kody's wives and becomes part of their families treating them as well as he does June.

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    Replies
    1. mock tomato sammichAugust 25, 2012 at 12:53 PM

      Now, that's something I would watch!

      Delete
  23. The people on the redneck vacation show were high class compared to the honey boo boo family. I can't zero in on why. Perhaps genetic diversity or maybe just a bit of self awareness.

    I wonder how the honey boo boo family is seen by their own community? Examples of the best or not so much?

    Dang. I am getting the morbid fascination thing starting now. At least I know I won't be able to actually watch the show.

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  24. WHY are the Brown's always at Disneyland? HOW ARE THEY PAYING FOR IT???

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    Replies
    1. EXACTLY!!! They must not be hurting for $$ too bad, since they can afford all of these family vacations they have been taking together & separately.
      Wonder how the building of their 4 new homes are going? Are they still in the works?

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  25. TLC has a new show premiering on Sept 10th called 'Breaking Amish'. Where Amish teens, I'm assuming when they turn 18, decide to leave the 'fold' & venture out on their own to experience & live on their own outside of how they were raised in their culture. Seems interesting, so I'll definitely be watching!
    Also, tonight on the Spike Channel, the show 'Flip Men', will be "flipping" a polygamist home. This should be interesting to see as well.

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  26. The 'Breaking Amish' show was bad...this network just caters to the selfish and self-centered. This whole "I gotta do something for ME" and "I deserve more than a dirt farm" is just getting old, no wonder our culture is so very narcissistic. Why don't we dump the Browns in the Amish community and watch them give up their materialistic life in service of other people? Bet no one would watch!

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