Female-skewed TLC has started the year well, recording its best Q1 for six years. Here is what’s coming up for the 2011-2012 season
Big Fat Gypsy Weddings was a surprise smash-hit in the UK where it was one of free-to-air broadcaster Channel 4’s most popular programmes ever. TLC has the UK show and is also launching a US version, Gypsyville (WT). It promises to capture the never before seen world of American gypsies and to unearth stories from this secretive community.
Verdict: If the show can capture the spirit of its UK counterpart it will be a big hit for TLC.
How many more extreme shows can cable TV handle? Two, at least. Discovery has, across its nets, lots of ‘extreme’ programming including Extreme Births, The Most Extreme and veteran of the ‘extreme’ category, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. TLC now has two more extreme programmes, Extreme Couponing and Extreme Christmas Trees (WT). Extreme Couponing follows ‘super couponers’, showing them in action in stores and the piles of merchandise they accrue along the way.
Verdict: The critics are split on Extreme Couponing, but viewers are not. It was the top ad-supported cable show in its slot on launch night last week and the figures for the first back-to-back episodes make it a bona fide hit.
Country star Billy Ray Cyrus was pressing the flesh at Discovery’s Upfront presentation and talking to advertisers about his new project, Homecoming. In his show US soldiers returning from action are reunited with their families in surprise homecomings and their personal stories are recounted.
Verdict: Will work at home, but would likely need to be remade locally to work on TLC’s international nets.
Randy to the Rescue
Say Yes to the Dress host Randy Fenoli fronts this wedding show. In each episode he visits a different city in a tractor trailer full of wedding dresses. Brides to be then line up to try the dresses and get Randy’s sage fashion advice on fashion, hair and make-up. Fenoli also stars in Say Yes to the Dress: Randy Knows Best in which he dishes out top tips on all bridal-related matters.
Verdict: TLC viewers like Randy. TLC viewers like wedding shows. TLC launching two new wedding shows with Randy looks like a no-brainer.
Spouse vs. House
Makeover show with a twist – a couple are given cash to renovate their home, but one person takes charge and redecorates while the other moves out leading to some surprises when they return and see their partner’s efforts. The show is a US remake of a British format, Mad About the House, two seasons of which have aired on BBC Three.
Verdict: The twist on the home makeover format worked well on the UK.
Having starred in Miami Ink, this show follows tattoo artist Ami James as he sets up shop in Soho, New York.
Verdict: Regulation spin-off series.