Friday, April 03, 2009

TV: TLC is keeping it all in the family

Remember when the TLC cable network showed mildly educational programming?

"TLC" used to be short for "The Learning Channel." It was the home of documentaries and science shows back in the early 1990s, but after ratings sagged, the people running the network started changing their target audience. The slate of reality shows and filler that came next was occasionally fun to watch, but the educational content was far diminished ("Junkyard Wars" being the exception to the rule).

Fast-foward to 2009, and it seems like the only thing on TLC now is reality shows. And not just any reality TV - reality TV that follows oddball families in their daily lives. You've got "Little People, Big World," "18 Kids and Counting," "Table for 12," and the 800 pound gorilla, "Jon & Kate Plus 8." You'd think one or two shows about parents with multiple sets of kids would be enough, but TLC has got almost every permutation you can think of covered.

Is the average American's family life so boring that they need to watch someone else's family? Instead of watching Jon & Kate take their kids to the zoo, shouldn't you be actually taking your kids to the zoo?


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