To most people, "Live and Learn" is a phrase tinged with regret of life’s mistakes tempered by a promise not to repeat them, and often muttered after a long sigh. Insiders also say "Live and Learn" next month will become the centerpiece catchphrase to a rebranding of Discovery Communications’ once-thriving TLC.
Until about two years ago, TLC was living large, feeding off Trading Spaces. Then came the nosedive. Ratings plunged 35%-40%, giving a cruel twist of truth to its current slogan, "Life Unscripted." Things got better. Last month, TLC’s total audience fell just 1% from the same period a year ago. But in its core 25-54 demo, Nielsen data shows TLC’s audience off 6%.
The new TLC marketing push will accompany the April 10 debut of two series, Honey, We’re Killing The Kids, focusing on slovenly families transforming their eating and exercise habits; and Shalom in the Home, featuring family counselor/author Rabbi Shmuley Boteach helping families get to the root of "destructive" dynamics.
"Live and Learn" evolved out of focus groups with TLC viewers. TLC’s General Manager David Abraham and other execs were stunned that the network’s longtime viewers still remember TLC for what it was: The Learning Channel, a moniker Discovery brass strenuously avoids using on-air.
A spokeswoman wouldn’t discuss rebranding. "Our lives are still unscripted," she says. "I don’t know what you’re talking about." She’ll learn.