There once was a time when the L in the network TLC’s name meant Learning. But since education makes for boring TV, the network eventually shifted its entire focus to reality TV programming that led to the debut of series like Jon & Kate Plus 8, Little People Big World and, of course, Toddlers & Tiaras. Those shows have all since disappeared, though, and even Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson and her family were told to take a hike, so TLC has had to really get creative in developing new series that could draw in enough viewers to make executives happily ignore our heavy groans of disbelief.
At the network’s upfronts, General Manager Nancy Daniels said that TLC will continue to develop “heart seekers,” or shows that cause viewers to become emotionally invested. It sounds like lunacy, but the fact remains that TLC’s original programming draws millions of people, according to Deadline, and that’s why the network rolled out a variety of new series for 2015, as Daniels promised to “dig deeper into our brand to deliver bigger moments and remarkable people that make this network a destination for millions of viewers.” TLC will probably not disappoint, if these synopses are any indication of the ridiculousness that we can expect.
My personal favorite is Hardly Royal, which is basically a King Ralph reality series with the potential to spark a small war.
Hardly Royal (working title) – New series, 3Q 2015
Maryland native David Drew has a story we all dream about. Several years ago, after some web surfing, this blue-collar car repair advisor discovered that he descends from a long line of British royalty. David’s discovery confirmed that he is heir and rightful King of the Isle of Mann in the United Kingdom, and now it’s time for him and his family to see if they can not only claim his throne, but also the acceptance of both aristocrats and locals. (MAK Pictures)
The only thing I dislike about that idea is that his last name isn’t Hardly. It basically sounds like a Kenneth Parcell pitch from 30 Rock, but it’s not exactly warming my heart. I’ll leave that up to a new dating series for the digital world.
Swipe Right (working title) – New series, 3Q 2015
Today’s dating world has moved beyond the boy next door, the guy at the end of the bar and the friendly set-up. Dating has gone digital by scrolling through hundreds of online photos and ‘swiping’ to show your interest. Hosted by Clinton Kelly and Devyn Simone, Swipe Right is the groundbreaking new series that brings the traditional makeover show up to date by transforming not only the wardrobe and attitude of our contributors but their entire social media profile. (Jane Street Ent.)
What’s disappointing is that you know there were dozens of TV sitcom pilot scripts floating around with that same title. “Dating is so tough with my fast-paced life,” the male or female character played by that actor or actress that was just on another canceled series complains. “This week on Swipe Right, getting dumped just got a lot easier… Danny Masterson guest stars!”
That seems kind of boring compared to TLC’s other “love”-based shows, so how about something that uses a ridiculous and outdated idea from other cultures and even eras?
Married by Mom and Dad (working title) – New series, 4Q 2015
In this new social experiment, men and women who have been unlucky in love have agreed to put their love lives and their futures in the hands of the people who know them best: their parents. Once their parents pick their perfect match they’ll tie the knot to find out if being married by mom and dad leads to happily ever after…or not. (Thinkfactory Media)
I guess it could be worse. The show could be Married to Mom and Dad. But TLC probably needs to save something for next year.
(H/T to Deadline, which has several other sure things.)