Over the years, it’s safe to say that the TLC network has undergone quite a transformation. In the beginning, it was more recognized as The Learning Channel. But how times have changed since then!
Today, Discovery, Inc.’s TLC channel would air television series that portray real-life issues and (supposed) real-life drama. Hence, you get shows such as “Counting On,” “7 Little Johnstons,” “Sister Wives,” “Say Yes to the Dress,” “The Little Couple,” “The Family Chantel,” “Trading Spaces” and more.
In 2018, TLC achieved a modest 10 percent increase in viewership, according to a report from Indie Wire. This year, it is possible that the channel would gain more audiences across America and throughout the rest of the world. To do so, however, we think it’s best to keep some less than flattering facts hush-hush. Check out what we found:
19 The network may overlook criminal records
This seems to be the case for the network’s dating show, “90 Day Fiancé.” In fact, cast member Danielle Mullins once admitted to being charged with fraud on Facebook.
Meanwhile, Molly Hopkins has a DIY record and Josh Batterson was once arrested for disorderly conduct and assault, according to a report from Starcasm.
18 Some of its shows are accused of being racists
According to a petition filed on Change.org, TLC is being criticized for its show “My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding” due to “racist sensationalism.” The petition explained, “Romani have long suffered persecution, prejudice, discrimination, ridicule, even murder and ethnic cleansing for their cultural heritage and misunderstood traditions throughout history.
Shows like "My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding" and "My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding" (UK version), not only shed Romani (and Irish Travelers) in a negative light, it openly ridicules a race of people so proud in their tradition and heritage.”
17 It doesn’t really bring couples together
On the show “90 Day Fiancé,” it can seem like TLC was responsible for bringing the couple’s together. However, that seems to be far from the truth.
According to a since-deleted IG post by season four’s Anfisa Nava, “You already know the person” and “decided you want to marry them” by the time filming started.
16 Psychic readings are rather staged
According to a report from Radar Online, a widowed mother of three once discovered that “Long Island Medium” psychic Theresa Caputo may be faking the whole thing.
During an interview, she recalled that Caputo’s crew had asked her questions before Caputo arrived and that during the session, Caputo “didn’t hit on anything surprising.”
15 Family celebrations and personal milestones are staged
Ever wondered how the cameras are always around at the right moments on TLC’s reality shows?
Well, as it turns out, celebrations on camera are often staged. During an interview with Huffington Post, “The Little Couple” stars Jen Arnold and Bill Klein explained, “We try to remind each other that dinners out with the cameras don't really count and that we still need to have a separate celebratory dinner for us, for birthdays and anniversaries. Even though we celebrate on camera, we do something separate as well.”
14 Only a small percent of production cost is allotted for cast salary
Just to give you an idea, the casts of “90 Day Fiancé” are paid between $1,000 to $1,500 per episode, according to a report from Radar Online.
Also, a post about the show “Sister Wives” from Reddit user Chapagne_Sparkles claimed, “The rule is 10% of production cost is paid to the "cast" on reality TV.”
13 Families and friends are not paid for their appearances
According to reports, family and friends who support the bride-to-be on “Say Yes to the Dress” don’t get paid for their time on the show. This is despite having to stick around for long hours for filming.
At the same time, the bride (bride’s family) has to be prepared to pay a lot of money for one wedding dress from Kleinfeld. At one point, a bride paid as much as $70,000.
12 They make brides try on dirty dresses
On “Say Yes to the Dress,” there are instances when bridal clients reportedly try on dirty dresses. According to a report from the New York Post, some women claimed that they encountered dresses that had sweat stains in the armpits.
The dresses were also found lying on the floor. Hence, you really need to be careful about what you agree to try on.
11 They don’t really give brides the dress they want
“Say Yes to the Dress” may appear like a show where a bride could find the perfect gown for her big day. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.
Bride-to-be Amanda Lauren wrote about her show experience on Ravishly saying, “I feel like reality television tricked me. Kleinfeld isn’t in the business of making women feel good — they’re in the business of selling dresses. It doesn’t matter if the dress isn't what you want — they just want you to sign a credit card receipt in under 1.5 hours.”
10 Their home decorating shows can do a horrible job
Sure, home decoration and home renovation shows have a way of inspiring you to become a bit more of a domestic goddess. But as it turns out, there are times when these projects fail miserably. On “Trading Spaces” there was once an episode were two neighbors ended up with the worst renovation in their homes.
According to SF Gate, one homeowner couple got stuck with lots of straw and hay on the wall. On the other hand, their neighbor found paint drips and sloppy workmanship in their kitchen.
9 They look for people with the worst skin conditions
One TLC show, “Dr. Pimple Popper,” is on the lookout for the possible patients that truly have the worst skin conditions possible.
During a 2018 casting call, the show revealed that it was looking for individuals who have “a lipoma, cyst, or large growth.” They would also want someone with “something on your body that is oozing, draining, or bleeding.”
8 They’ll pay you for referring people with horrible skin
According to a report from Allure, there is a way for you to still participate in “Dr. Pimple Popper” even if you don’t have any major skin issues.
Instead of appearing on the show, you can refer someone who should become Sandra Lee’s next patient. For that, you may earn as much as $500.
7 Deals shown on television may be fake
As it turns out, certain deals featured on TLC’s “Extreme Couponing” were scripted.
As Fry’s Supermarket in Sahaurita, Arizona explained on its Facebook page, “We understand that some customers may have questions regarding the coupon policy after viewing the show and we welcome your comments. We do want to make it clear that the show was done for promotional purposes and that our coupon policy posted here on Facebook remains the same and is for all Fry’s stores.”
6 Some of its stars have famous enemies
It seems “Long Island Medium” star Theresa Caputo is never done facing backlash. This time, she’s up against the likes of Anderson Cooper and Howard Stern.
After Caputo made an appearance on Cooper’s show in 2012, the veteran journalist stated, “I’m pretty skeptical about this Long Island Medium stuff.” Meanwhile, Stern once declared, “The Long Island psychic is not a psychic.”
5 Some of their stars have been charged with bigamy and felony
On TLC, it seems the most controversial show at present is “Sister Wives.” In fact, when the show premiered in 2010, the Brown family was investigated on whether they had violated Utah’s bigamy laws.
According to Page Six, police eventually closed the case without charges being filed. Meanwhile, the family decided to flee to Nevada.
4 One of its stars was catfished
“Sister Wives” star Meri Brown revealed that she once got caught in a catfishing scandal. During the show’s season eight premiere episode, she recalled her encounter with a guy named Sam who turned out to be a woman.
Of being victimized, she remarked, “It’s like, what is the motivation? Why does she do this? I mean, is she just evil? Is she lonely? I don’t know.”
3 The stars’ names can be fake
Apparently, there are cast members from different shows who chose to use a fake name. For starters, “90 Day Fiance” star Chantel Everett’s real name happens to be CeAir Chantel Wylie-Everett.
Meanwhile, Jazz’s family doesn’t use their real family name on “I am Jazz.” Jazz mother, Jeanette, told Miami Herald, “Our last name is a very Jewish, long last name. Jennings is our pseudonym, to sort of make life easier. We try to hide our real last name as much as possible.”
2 Some cast members sue the show
On “90 Day Fiancé,” cast members Mark Shoemaker and his now-wife, Nikki Rose Mediano Shoemaker filed a lawsuit against TLC’s parent company in 2017.
According to records published on Justia US Law, the two alleged that they were “fraudulently misrepresented.” Moreover, the couple claimed that the channel “improperly altered several footages to cause Plaintiffs' damages, including the destruction of their reputation.”
1 A lot of scenes are staged
Sadly, it seems a lot of the scenes we see on television are staged for maximum dramatic effect. In a YouTube video, Chris Thieneman, David Toborowsky’s, best friend, said that producers suggested for him to offer Toborowsky’s wife a massage.
Moreover, he was asked to say his line several times so that there are several takes they could use.
Sources: Indie Wire, Starcasm, Justia US Law, Radar Online, Miami Herald, Change.org & SF Gate