The Times West Virginian

Life

August 22, 2012

TLC's gamble: Sticking to reality

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, Md., 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.

1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Text Only
Life
  • An alternative diagnosis to ADHD: Schoolchildren need more time to move

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells us that in recent years, there has been a jump in the percentage of young people diagnosed with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, commonly known as ADHD: 7.8 percent in 2003 to 9.5 percent in 2007 to 11 percent in 2011.

    July 18, 2014

  • Why it's basically impossible to delete those naked selfies you text

    If you're selling an old Android smartphone on an online auction site, you could be giving away rather more than you intend to, according to a recent investigation by anti-malware company Avast.

    July 18, 2014

  • wheat1.jpg Backlash has begun against gluten-free dieters

    The swelling ranks of Americans adopting gluten-free diets have given rise to another hot trend: people calling the whole thing a bunch of baloney.

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can plants hear? Study finds that vibrations prompt some to boost their defenses

    They have no specialized structure to perceive sound as we do, but a new study has found that plants can discern the sound of predators through tiny vibrations of their leaves - and beef up their defenses in response.

    July 8, 2014

  • "A Hard Day's Night" getting better all the time

    The Beatles' classic film, "A Hard Day's Night," is getting a fab makeover for its 50th anniversary.

    July 6, 2014

  • The science of shyness

    Shy people have quite a bit to contend with - not least the word itself. 
    It has a number of different meanings, none of which are flattering. To "shy away" from something implies avoidance; to "shy" can also mean to move suddenly in fright; to "be shy of" something can mean to come up short, or be insufficient.

    June 27, 2014

  • breaking-up.jpg Thinking about breaking up? Flip a coin

    In their latest book, 'Think Like a Freak," Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner suggest that, contrary to what many people have told you in life, you should quit. That is, when things get tough, you shouldn't always tough them out and stick with it. Instead, you should quit and do so sooner rather than later.

    June 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • baby-generic.jpg For millennials, out-of-wedlock childbirth is the norm

    This month brings us yet another reminder that, for young Americans, having children outside of marriage is very much "the new normal," as The New York Times once put it.

    June 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Each glass of bubbly has at least a million reasons to drink it anytime

    So don't wait for a special occasion. Make one: a lousy day, a minor victory at the office, a tough commute home. That chilling bottle of bubbly might be just what's needed.

    June 24, 2014

  • Screen shot 2014-04-25 at 4.52.16 PM.png Don't download these: 3 totally unnecessary apps

    There are apps to help you manage your time, your money and your health. If you have problems waking up or going to sleep, there's an app for that. But there are a few apps that absolutely no one needs.

    April 28, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
Featured Ads