TLC To Debut Reality Series
Sister net Discovery plans documentary franchise
By Allison Romano -- Broadcasting & Cable, 3/9/2003 7:00:00 PM
Discovery Networks U.S.'s TLC isn't waiting for Trading Spaces to cool off before building out its own additions. TLC plans to debut four lifestyle reality series through June. Two other new shows, What Not To Wear and Faking It, joined the schedule last weekend.
"As other shows torture and humiliate people," said TLC General Manager Roger Marmet, "we are carving out a place where people retain their dignity."
That doesn't mean TLC's shows are stuffy, though. On Love U, slated to debut April 11, couples will enter a marital boot camp to test their relationship. TLC has ordered six episodes.
Engaged couples will test their relationships with For Better or Worse, on which their families and friends get a week and $5,000 to plan the wedding. The series, also six episodes, premieres May 24.
On Date Squad, a format imported from the BBC, a trio of experts help make-over an unfortunate single having trouble getting dates. The 13-episode series is slated to debut June 27.
Set for July 7, the fourth new show—The Good, the Bad and the Ugly —challenges a couple in a hurry to move to pick an expert who complements their moving style.
The titles of all the newly unveiled series are still tentative.
With Trading Spaces riding high as one of cable's hottest shows, Marmet wants to take advantage of the platform. He promises new shows throughout the year, "just as soon as we can get them on the air."
Separately, Discovery Networks is stepping up its documentary commitment, partnering with a group of acclaimed documentary filmmakers to create a franchise "Discovery Docs."
Filmmakers Michael Apted (Coal Miner's Daughter), Barbara Kopple (Harlan County USA), Nanette Burstein (The Kid Stays in the Picture), Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker (Startup.com), and Peter Gilbert (Hoop Dreams ) have signed on to co-produce and distribute films.
The documentaries will be released theatrically first by CameraPlanet and will then premiere on Discovery Networks, most likely on the flagship Discovery Channel.
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