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TLC takes a different spin on reality TV after Duggar catastrophe

No matter what TLC seems to try, they just can’t avoid scandal with their shows. From divorce and cheating to sexual assault and incest, TLC “stars” have run the gamut of moral indiscretions. Can these new shows stand public scrutiny?

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19 Kids and Counting is out. Kate Plus 8 only airs once in a blue moon. With more and more TLC shows sinking fast, they’ve had to look hard to find replacements. Their fall lineup offers a couple new options, but we’re not so sure they’ll stand the test of time.

Suddenly Royal

Nothing about this show seems realistic. A middle-aged, blue-collar American learns he’s related to English royalty and the “rightful heir” to a title in the Isle of Man. Determined to better his life, he uproots his family to move to his ancestral home. How will it go? If we learned anything from Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo (and thousands of lottery winners), it’s that you can’t give a ton of money to blue-collar people and expect everything to work out right. (No hate. If you gave us a million dollars, we’d pay off our student loans and then buy a house on the beach, a boat and a truck to pull it. We’d soon be broke, again, too.) Suddenly Royal has all the makings of one hilarious half-season followed by cheating, divorce and the inevitable tarnishing of a long-respected surname.

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Labor Games

Reality TV meets game shows in this chaotic idea of entertainment. When soon-to-be new parents arrive at the hospital, practicing their breathing through early labor, TLC producers/directors hit them up for a chance to be on the show and compete for… something. Their delivery room and pregnancy shows have always done well enough, and we expect the chance to see fresh babies comes into the world will once again work in the network’s favor. Still pretty weird, though.

There are a few other shows in the works that still don’t have official titles. In the near future, TLC will tackle quincean?eras (think MTV’s My Super Sweet 16, but more ethnic). They also have a show similar to Who Do You Think You Are?, except connecting living family members who have been displaced for various reasons. And, yes, there’s a digital dating show in the works. Their summer lineup is littered with fashion, makeovers and wedding shows, and they don’t seem to be shying away from that sampling (thankfully!). But will their new offerings in the cultural and social voyeurism style of television pan out better than their previous options?

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