TLC, the network that brought us obsessive coverage of families with armies of children, obsessive coverage of little people, and obsessive coverage of people with obsessions, now appears to be going off the deep end with programs about emergency medical …
The reality TV destination has 44 new and returning series on tap for the 2014-15 season. TLC‘s lineup includes seven new specials and a half-dozen news series including a new series starring The King Of Queens alum Leah Remini and her family and a Breaking Amish spinoff. Specials include a return look at Kate Gosselin and her brood and A Duggar Leaves Home, about a cousin of the Duggar clan from 19 Kids & Counting who moves to Nashville to pursue a singing career. Here a look at TLC’s new programs for the coming season, covering the family, relationships and wedding genres:
TLC, which made the Gosselins a household name documenting the family and its breakup with docu-series Jon & Kate Plus 8, will catch up with Kate Gosselin and her eight kids in a one-hour special to air sometime in June, the network said this morning. That’s five years after TLC snagged a then-record-breaking crowd of nearly 11 million viewers who tuned in, in June 2009, to watch parents Jon and Kate announce the smash-up of their marriage after 10 years. TLC in its announcement today says it’s been more than two years since we’ve last seen the Gosselin clan — which may be true if you’re only watching TLC, but not the case if you area regular reader of the tabloids and celebrity mags. Kate also has been a regular on the reality-TV circuit since the end of Jon & Kate Plus 8; she’s most recently rumored to be a candidate for the next round of Celebrity Apprentice on NBC and, of course, was one of those contestants you loved to loathe on ABC’s Dancing With The Stars awhile back. Jon most recently has been seen ranting about Kate on VH1′s Couples Therapy, and giving interviews about his new tell-all book.
TLC has picked up its Breaking Amish spinoff series, tentatively titled Return To Amish with the original cast set to return. A premiere date will be set for this coming June. The original Breaking Amish, which premiered in fall of ’2012 is TLC’s highest-rated freshmen series ever; it introduced viewers to five young men and women who chose to leave their sheltered Amish and Mennonite lives to experience New York City together for the first time. A previous spinoff, Breaking Amish: Brave New World, followed them as they traveled south to Sarasota, FL. TLC has now ordered a new spin-off series that follows Abe, Rebecca, Sabrina, Jeremiah, and Kate as they continue to acclimate to their new lives while still applying some Amish traditions to holidays and major life events. Mary, Katie Ann, and Andrew all return as well, and viewers are finally introduced to Chester (Mary’s husband), Chapel (Andrew’s girlfriend) and Kayla (Rebecca’s daughter). The network has ordered six hour-long episodes from Hot Snakes Media. TLC describes the spinoff:
Kody Brown may be the only husband in TLC’s Sister Wives polygamist series, but he’s now not the network’s only polygamist. TLC announced today it would debut nine episodes of My Five Wives on Sunday, March 9 at 10 PM, after its successful one-hour pilot try-out in September.
Yes, Sister Wives is very successful for TLC, ratings-wise. But this new polygamist family has one more wife! And 24 children, to Kody’s 17! And is contemplating adoption! And is more “progressive” – that’s Hollywood-speak for cameras going into the bedroom and wives discussing their bedroom time with patriarch Brady Williams.
Plus, Brady and brood still live in Utah, while Brown and family had to flee Utah for Las Vegas in 2011 after a local prosecutor opened an investigation into the family when TLC aired the first season. And Brady’s name is Brady, which allows TLC to make Brady’s Bunch gags (see TLC’s news release below):
TLC loves programming threads. It used to have lots of shows about families with boatloads of children, though it has slimmed down on that thread. It also has its wedding-dress thread, its hoarders thread, its Amish thread. And, The Weinstein Company hopes, it will soon have a trailer park thread. Today, TWC announced it is renaming its doing-okay-but-not-a-hit TLC reality series Welcome To Myrtle Manor, which will henceforth be known as Trailer Park: Welcome To Myrtle Manor, starting with its second season. TWC says it’s making this change in order to spawn lots of trailer park spinoffs, set in other U.S. locations. Ginning up more ratings would help too, but that’s another story, and we hear they’ve tweaked the show for next season.
“The Trailer Park spinoffs that we’re developing promise to bring new twists on the same types of lovable, zany characters and entertaining scenarios,” TWC TV president Meryl Poster said in this morning’s announcement, noting they did something similar with Project Runway All Stars, Project Accessory and the recent Under The Gunn — all Project Runway spinoffs.
From TWC’s announcement:
Discovery Communications, intent upon owning the naked reality-TV genre, said this morning it will premiere a two-hour special/backdoor pilot, Buying Naked on TLC, on November 20. The special follows two nudist couples as they search for their dream homes. “Turns out, finding a home for a nudist couple is treacherous. Sharp corners and cramped kitchens “can injure the house’s inhabitants without the barrier of a basic T-shirt,” TLC explained. Enter Jackie Youngblood, a real estate agent who “has proven to be an authority figure on finding prime real estate for her clothing-optional clientele.” It all takes place in Pasco County, FL, which TLC says is home to one of the world’s largest nudist communities. Which presumably means it’s easier there than elsewhere to find homes for sale that boast T-shirt-covered corners. And, did you know that real estate agents specializing in nudist clients always have a good stock of towels, for the clients to sit on while touring homes? Apparently the clients don’t think to bring their own.
While the premiere resembles classic Discovery Communications backdoor-pilot strategy, it’s unclear whether there’s enough material for a series about nudist house hunting. However, TLC may be looking at doing a series about the nudist community – TLC being a network that specializes in “hidden communities.” A nudist show would be a nice departure from the prairie-dress hidden-community shows that now litter TLC’s lineup, including its programming on the Amish, and two new series on the FLDS community.
Here’s the trailer:
TLC, which, despite shortening its name to its initials, can’t seem to shake the feeling it has a responsibility to explain how its programming is instructive, explained in this morning’s announcement that Buying Naked will “expose viewers to essential nudist real estate tips to ensure a comfortable and danger-free abode for anyone interested in ditching their wardrobe for the au naturel.”
EXCLUSIVE: TLC‘s Long Island Medium mid-season debut was the most watched non-sports program in cable primetime Sunday night, clocking 2.6 million viewers, according to Nielsen stats. LIM beat the unveiling of Lifetime’s new Witches Of East End (1.9 million), a re-union special of Bravo’s Real Housewives Of New Jersey (2.5 million) and an episode of E!’s Keeping Up With The Kardashians (2.3 million), among other programs. LIM was cable’s No. 2 ranked among women 25-54 in primetime, and No.1 in its timeslot. Sunday night’s premiere episode was also the series’ highest-rated episode in nearly a year with viewers, homes and key female demos.
The debut episode ranked as the network’s best social media night ever, ranking No. 1 among all TV excluding sports. Not coincidentally, the fourth season’s mid-season debut featured a live Twitter event where four viewers won all-expenses-paid trips to Theresa Caputo for readings.
TLC released its teaser for the upcoming film Letters To Jackie: Remembering President Kennedy, in advance of its November 17 premiere, commemorating JFK‘s assassination. The film is a tribute to the First Lady, who received more than 800,000 condolence letters in the weeks following the death of her husband though, unfortunately, the teaser doesn’t give us too much of that and instead goes the Kennedy-in-the-convertible route. Anyway, here’s the teaser: (Click over for the hefty list of Hollywood-ers the producers got to read the letters).
Discovery Communications’ TLC today announced it had ordered two new projects that take viewers into “the hidden world of the FLDS church.” One is about about insiders trying to leave the church; the second follows an outsider who helps people break away. A sneak peek at the first, called Breaking the Faith, will air within the season finale of TLC’s Breaking Amish: LA, AMISH: LA this Sunday, September 29.
The FLDS religion remains one of the most secretive communities in America, a world of unquestioned authority, arranged marriage, and little contact to the outside world. Often in the headlines for its extreme beliefs and behaviors, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints continues to be led by its president – and self-described prophet – Warren Jeffs, despite his 2011 conviction on two felony counts of child sexual assault. With an estimated 10,000 followers of the church, no series has fully explored the experiences of individuals who choose to leave the compound – until now.
This fall, TLC premieres two new series that take viewers on a remarkable exploration of faith, fear, and strength, while providing very different perspectives: from insiders as they leave the faith, and from the outsider as they help people break away. The first, BREAKING THE FAITH, follows several young men and women who escape the community to start new lives. Then, ESCAPING THE PROPHET documents the efforts of former FLDS member Flora Jessup as she helps families flee the compound.
Nancy Daniels, general manager of Discovery Communications’ Discovery Fit & Health, is returning to TLC as its new GM. Daniels, who also was serving as Discovery Channel’s EVP Production & Development, is replacing Amy Winter who stepped down from the post last month but will remain with the net as EVP Brand Marketing. Winter, who’d told staff that her plans to relocate her family from Atlanta didn’t work out as planned, came to the post from a marketing position — Daniels is a programmer. As TLC’s SVP Production and Development, she oversaw the launch of Cake Boss, The Little Couple, Sister Wives and Sarah Palin’s Alaska. More recently, at Discovery Channel, she oversaw live events — Skywire Live, for example. She also oversaw such popular Discovery series as including Bering Sea Gold, Naked And Afraid, Deadliest Catch, Mythbusters as well as the All the President’s Men Revisited special. At Discovery Fit & Health, Daniels managed day-to-day operations. In her new gig, she will report to Eileen O’Neill, Group President, Discovery and TLC Networks.
EXCLUSIVE: Amy Winter has stepped down as General Manager of Discovery Communications’ TLC network but will remain with the net as EVP Brand Marketing. According to an informed source, Winter told staff that her plans to relocate her family from Atlanta didn’t work out as planned. Winter has three children under age 7, and her husband works in Atlanta.
As TLC’s GM, she gets credit for Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, Long Island Medium, and Breaking Amish and Secret Princes and their spinoffs; she also greatly expanded the network’s Friday’s Bride Day programming thread. Winter, a longtime TLC marketing exec, was named General Manager and EVP of the network in February 2011, replacing Eileen O’Neill when she was named Group President, Discovery and TLC Networks.