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Family Planning Works for TLC

Jun 12, 2006  •  Post A Comment

The gains are driven by the ratings performances of the new series “Little People, Big World” and two recently debuted parenting and relationship series, “Honey We’re Killing the Kids!” and “Shalom in the Home.” TLC Executive VP and General Manager David Abraham has just ordered 10 additional episodes of “Shalom” and 13 more episodes of “Honey.”

The projects are part of a push at the network to shift the emphasis of its series away from the decor and construction of houses-typified by former hits such as “Trading Spaces”-to the relationships of the families inside them.

Mr. Abraham just ordered two more series that explore family dynamics: “House of Tiny Terrors” and “One Week to Save Your Marriage.”

“We felt it important to build out the parenting and relationship series in a robust way because it’s such an important topic to our [mid- to late-30s] target audience,” Mr. Abraham said. “There’s a lot of entertainment brands for those in their twenties and a lot of channels for baby boomers.”

Kagan Research analyst Derek Baine predicted TLC’s current ratings growth will continue and result in ad revenue increases next year.

“I’m not surprised they are clawing their way back,” Mr. Baine said. “A lot of people don’t realize what an important component of the Discovery family TLC is. Cash flow fell almost $100 million at TLC between 2003 and 2005. We are projecting flat ad revenue for the year, but they will … bounce up 16 percent in 2007.”

“House of Tiny Terrors,” seven one-hour episodes of which have been ordered, combines elements of nanny-rescue shows with those of “Big Brother.” Families with difficult toddlers move into a house equipped with 45 cameras and are coached by psychologist Tanya Byron. “Terrors” is slated to debut later this year.

“One Week to Save Your Marriage,” comprising 13 one-hour episodes, features therapist Dr. Robi Ludwig working with young couples who are considering divorce. “Marriage” will launch July 31, taking the Monday 10 p.m. slot.

A wave of inspirational programming is also still to come, with shows such as “The Messengers,” a competition among motivational speakers, and “The Monastery,” where men enter a monastery and women enter a convent, debuting later this year.

He also plans to order new projects intended to refresh the network’s housing makeover genre.