If someone suggested you switch on The Learning Channel you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d be about to watch programs that would actually teach you something.
You know…science, art, high brow documentaries.
But you’d be wrong. TLC are launching their new channel tomorrow (30th April) with shows such as My Strange Addiction, where a girl eats her sofa (eating something arses have been hanging around makes us feel a little sick) and Breaking Amish, which sends a group of Amish kids to New York.
But the big TLC coup is that they’ll be showing “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” a reality show about an overweight child and her overweight family. Alana Myers, who calls herself Honey Boo Boo, became an internet sensation after appearing on TLC’s Toddlers and Tiaras, which goes behind-the-scenes in the demented world of child pageants. The show drew criticism for showing Alana preparing for her pageant performances by wolfing down sherbert and “go-go juice” – a potent mixture of caffeine and energy drinks.
According to The Independent the channel will fall under the Discovery umbrella, and Discovery Networks UK & Ireland. General manager Susanna Dinnage of Discovery Networks UK is said to be hoping that TLC bags as many viewers as its parent channel “within a year”. Her wish, she said, is “that we have as strong a channel for women as we do for men with Discovery”.
So, let’s get this straight. When you aim a channel called “The Learning Channel” at women, you’re to fill it full of vacuous, reality TV? Seriously?
Ms Dinnage went on to say British viewers wouldn’t mind watching American imports, as “good television travels”. However, she did suggest that TLC UK could soon be on the lookout for a home-grown Honey Boo Boo. “It’s all about offering what the audience responds to. We’ve got a fantastic production and development unit here in London. We hope to keep all these great ideas coming,” she said. The Discovery manager also expects outside production companies to start pitching ideas, saying: “It may be inspired by TLC shows, as long as it’s right for the brand.”
TLC, she said, is about “having a really good mix. You want people to turn on at any time and find a bit of television that entertains them and gets them thinking and talking.”
If this is the way our TV is going then someone stop the world, we definitely want to hop off!
As well as being Editor here at The Spin Alley, Rachael is also a freelance journalist and blogger covering lifestyle, travel, culture, entertainment, media and online life for online and print publications.