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James Hibberd



'Killing' Renewal

July 11, 2006 1:10 PM

Some programming executives seem to skate along the surface of their overwhelming jobs, reacting to pitches, meetings and interviews as best they can, often baffled by the shifting attitudes and preferences of their fickle viewers. Other executives come across as deep thinkers who burrow below the surface and spend sleepless nights pondering what their network really means and drafting detailed game plans.

TLC’s VP and General Manager David Abraham seems like one of the latter. Having breakfast on the Ritz Carlton patio, he talks about putting more purposeful programming on Mondays when viewers feel more goal-oriented, then scheduling more frivolous entertainment later in the week when viewers are more tired. He notes his network’s recent double-digit ratings growth, but seems more interested in what the shows really mean to the people who watch them. He is, in short, a bright guy – and the English accent doesn’t hurt.   

He also drops some news. Next week TLC will announce a renewal of “Honey We’re Killing the Kids,” a reality series that shows parents how their child’s bad habits will harm their future. Also, with “American Chopper” shifting from Discovery to TLC next January, Mr. Abraham intends to order at least one new motor-themed show to accompany “Chopper,” which will run on Thursdays in a motor-programming block. The network also plans a marketing campaign to herald the switch.              

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