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TLC Upfront: 55 Offerings Include Brides, Lady Di, “Mama’s Boys” and “Cheapskates”

Published on April 06, 2012

It’s an eclectic mix. TLC is offering a 2012-2013 slate that includes 55 new and returning series, offering everything from spoiled live-at-home Bronx guys to supernannies and female preachers.

With 29 series delivering over one million viewers, TLC continues to rank among the top 10 ad-supported cable networks among women in primetime – and the network shows no signs of slowing down. This Upfront season, TLC builds on its established momentum, announcing more than 55 new and returning series to air in 2012-2013.

“TLC’s sweet spot lies in our ability to open doors into the lives of relatable, remarkable people and connect them with viewers across the country – many of whom have become television’s most beloved personalities and families,” said Amy Winter, general manager for TLC. “With over 55 new and returning series programmed within our most popular genres, this Upfront promises a robust slate of exciting original programming, as well as brand new adventures with our audience’s favorite faces.”

TLC continues to go behind-the-scenes into rarely seen worlds with “Breaking Amish” (working title), a 10-part series following the lives of Amish men and women as they experience life – for the first time – outside the Amish community; and “Preacher Ladies” (working title), a candid look into Atlanta-area churches’ first ladies in their work with their congregations and at home.

Friday remains “Bride-Day” – a top destination for wedding programming – as TLC presents three new series for viewers to fall in love with, including “Ultimate Dress Quest” (working title), where brides come far and wide to have their ultimate dress fantasy fulfilled; “Brides of New Jersey” (working title), centered around a New Jersey bridal shop that caters to loud and proud brides as they hunt down their perfect dress while dealing with their very opinionated friends, fiancés and family members, and “Maids of Dishonor” (working title), where your best friend may easily become your biggest nightmare. In addition, the network will add another celebrity wedding special to its slate, joining Mario Lopez and Courtney Mazza as they celebrate their marriage with their family and friends.

Family continues to grow at TLC with “Mama’s Boys of the Bronx”, a look inside the lives of five proud Italian-American men who unapologetically still live with their mothers and the “Bates Family Series” (working title), eight 30-minute episodes following Gil and Kelly Bates, and their 19 children as they share what it takes to manage life with such a large family.
Additional highlights of TLC’s 2012-13 upfront schedule include the following:

NEW SERIES

American Wifestyles (working title)
There is no typical way to be a wife. From arranged marriages, to women obsessed with being the perfect 1950′s style of homemaker, to the trophy wives who are proud to be kept women, wives in America come in every shape, size, and ideology. This revealing anthology series will go deep inside the lives of the diverse, complicated, hilarious and often shocking REAL lives of wives across America. (Q3, 2012)

Bates Family Series (working title)
The Bates family just welcomed baby 19, which means Gil and Kelly Jo now have 10 girls and 9 boys. See how they manage life with such a large family that includes up to 20 loads of laundry, 7 gallons of milk and 9 loaves of bread every week. Their back to basics life in the hills of Tennessee is free of distractions like television and video games, but full of activities like chores, singing and spending time with each other. We’ll follow the family as they share their love of music and family values, and see for ourselves how they pull it all off. (Q2, 2012)

Big Brooklyn Style
A half-hour workplace docu-soap following larger than life plus-size designer Lisa Dolan and her husband/partner Jim Dolan, as they set out to conquer the plus-size fashion world, one beautifully designed dress at a time. The series will follow the family run business on their mission to combine style with plus size clothing, to make women of any size feel confident and fashionable. Each week, we follow the comedy and drama as Lisa and Jim navigate the complex world of plus-size fashion on their mission to help transform their customers’ lives. (Q2, 2012)

Big Tiny: Life with the Jordans
Anew series about the extraordinary life of the world’s smallest siblings. In September 2011, 22-year-old Bridgette Jordan was crowned the “World’s Shortest Living Woman.” Weighing only 18 pounds, she stands a diminutive, beyond-belief size of 28,” about the size of a six month old baby, while her younger brother Brad, weighs only 35 pounds and stands just 38″ tall – making them the world’s shortest living brother and sister. (Q2, 2012)

Breaking Amish (working title)
An unprecedented look into a rarely seen world, following five Amish men and women and one Mennonite woman as they make the most important decision of their lives – to join the church and fully embrace the Amish and Mennonite lifestyle, or leave for good and follow their dreams outside of their communities.  The stakes are incredibly high as each of them face complete and total rejection, criticism and even exile from their family’s homes and their community.   However, all of them feel they will never be at peace in their community unless they know what lies beyond.  They are inviting viewers to come along on their bold and courageous decision to put their lives on hold and leave religious dress, head coverings, horse & buggies and the simple life behind as they trade it in for a journey of firsts.   The innocence and joy of watching these men and women experience things we take for granted for the first time will be unforgettable. (Q3, 2012)

Craft Wars
Hosted by Tori Spelling, pits creative and genius crafters against one another in inspiring and tough challenges. Our crafters create cool, eye-popping pieces that will leave the viewer amazed and asking themselves, “how’d they do that!?”  Each episode invites three craft experts to our arena to compete in two rounds of intense, timed competition. The first round, called the “Pop Craft,” challenges our competitors to create a more traditional and functional craft – but with some rather unusual materials – that the crafters must create in only one hour.  After the end of Round 1, our panel of judges, each an esteemed craft expert, will eliminate one crafter and the remaining two will face off in the final “Master Craft” round, a five-hour no holds barred contest to create the most imaginative large scale craft they can dream of. In the end, the craftiest crafter will walk away with $10,000. (Q3, 2012)

Extreme Cheapskates
An insider’s look at the most extreme money saving people around. Prepare to be amazed at their inventive and outrageous ways to save a buck as we reveal the saving (and spending) habits of – America’s most “Extreme Cheapskates.” (Q3, 2012)

Irish Dancing Special (working title) – Q3, 2012
Irish Dancing Series (working title) – Q1, 2013

This one-hour special and eight-part series gives viewers a rare look behind the scenes of the world of competitive Irish dance. We follow the lives of American girls and boys, their families and their teachers as they all prepare for the biggest event of the year: The World Championship competition. In the weeks leading up to the “Worlds,” they endure the physical and emotional stress of a rigorous practice schedule. In a world where every detail of the performance is planned as much as the steps, from the intricate costumes to hair design and makeup, these contestants have one goal in mind – returning home a world champion.  It’s a compelling story of heart, discipline and fierce competition.   (Q1, 2013)

Untitled Jo Project (working title)
TLC has signed a development deal with the original Supernanny, Jo Frost, to put her back to work fixing troubled families. She’s already tamed screaming toddlers, and now she’s tackling some of America’s toughest families and modern parenting challenges. From out-of-control teenagers, to interfering in-laws and battling school bullies – America’s families need help – and fast. (Q1, 2013)

Mama’s Boys of the Bronx
Forget about fresh baked bread, pasta and cannoli - Arthur Avenue is the place where growing up means never having to leave your mama. TLC shares a slice of the real Little Italy with “Mama’s Boys of the Bronx”, an eight-part series that follows five proud Italian-American men who grew up together and have plenty in common – they’re attractive, employed, in their 30′s…and unapologetically still live with their mothers.  (Q2, 2012)

May the Best House Win
A home is a direct reflection of its owner…right? Well, when four very different homeowners take turns to host a tour of their homes, we’ll find out just how accurate saying ‘you are where you live’ actually is. Going through the keyhole of homes as weird and wonderful as their occupants, the other contestants will get a chance to snoop around before giving their frank opinions and rating the home, each hoping that at the end it’s their house which will come out on top to win the $10,000 prize. (Q3, 2012)

On The Fly
Follows the folks whose daily challenge is getting thousands of passengers to their destinations on time and in a happy mood.  In each episode, we introduce the engaging airline employees of Southwest Airlines, who must think on their feet as they cope with the chaos of weather delays, irate passengers and more surprising and unusual situations that only occur while flying.  Focusing on airports in Chicago, Baltimore, Denver, New Orleans, Fort Lauderdale and Tampa, we get an inside look at the dramatic, funny and uplifting moments flying the largest domestic airline in the U.S.  (Q2, 2012)

Preacher Ladies (working title)
A candid look into the lives of the dynamic southern belles who walk a path only a chosen few can follow. We’ll watch each week as these ladies shatter stereotypes of what an old-fashioned preacher’s wife is expected to be with the 21st Century reality of these high-powered women who hold court in Atlanta’s world of mega-churches, multi-million dollar empires and high priced perfection. We’ll see our “First Ladies” as they navigate between the family home and the high and mighty pulpit, from the front cover of the papers to television screens across the nation, and from intimate prayer meetings to stadiums filled to capacity. (Q4, 2012)

Randy to the Rescue
“Say Yes to the Dress” breakout star, Randy Fenoli, is throwing the ultimate bridal truck show! On every episode of this splashy new series, Randy will roll into a different city in a tractor-trailer packed to the gills with wedding dresses. Eager brides line up around city blocks for their chance to get advice from the most trusted name in wedding dress retail. Inside the ballroom, Randy will have a team of consultants, working various fitting stations, to help each bride find the perfect dress. The hour-long television show will focus on Randy’s work with three particularly interesting brides. Doing much more than helping women find the right dress, he’ll design their entire look from “head to hem” (dress, hair, makeup, bouquet). (Q2, 2012)

Southie Pride (working title)
As one of the nation’s most historic neighborhoods, South Boston is known for hard-working residents who display an outrageous passion for life, family and town. Now, TLC takes viewers into this tight-knit community in the new TLC series “Southie Pride” (working title), going inside the homes of five South Boston women as they struggle to make a life for their families and protect the people they love the most. (Q3, 2012)

Tattoo School
In each episode, three new students go to The World’s Only Tattoo School in colorful Shreveport, Louisiana to experience an intensive two-week “sink or swim” program. Every time these tattoo-artists-in-training put needle to skin, there’s the potential for a work of art…or an unnatural disaster, all under the watchful eye of Dr. Bill Pogue, the founder and lead instructor of “Tattoo School.” Using his 40 years of experience in the business, he takes only two weeks to teach what most tattoo artists spend years learning.  And for the student who does the best tattoo on the final exam, there’s the Golden Gun, a high-end tattoo machine that will get them started on their tattooing career.  (Q2, 2012)

NEW SPECIALS/PILOTS

9/11 Emergency Room (working title)
This one-hour special is the moving and inspiring story of the emergency service workers who treated the injured around the World Trade Center as the jets crashed and the towers fell. On 9/11, few inside the World Trade Center escaped unharmed.  Thousands of evacuating office workers, innocent bystanders and emergency responders were harmed in some way.  When the first plane hit the Twin Towers, the New York emergency units sprang into action saving lives despite the hardest of circumstances. Quick-response triage centers were under threat from collapse as they were positioned so close to the towers and many of the injured had to be ferried across the Hudson River to safety. “9/11 Emergency Room” looks at the incredible response from the medical professionals on the ground as the horror unfolded and the impact their service had on so many people that day. (Q3, 2012)

Birth Moms (working title)
A real raw human drama, “Birth Moms” (working title) looks behind the agonizing dilemma that begins every adoption story. This one-hour special focuses on the lives of three birth moms living at an adoption center in Utah and struggling with the decision to put their babies up for adoption. Tensions run high as this diverse group of women from around the country interact during this tumultuous time. As each mother is introduced, we’ll find out what brought her to the center and follow her journey through childbirth. We’ll witness face-to-face meetings with prospective adoptive parents who desperately want these children, and be present for the gut wrenching moment when each birth mom must finally decide if they will give their baby up for adoption. (Q2, 2012)

Brides of New Jersey (working title)
Every bride-to-be has a vision of her dream gown, but for these brides, the dream is a little bit bigger than average.  Welcome to “Brides of New Jersey” (working title) – from big hair, plunging necklines and massive amounts of bling, these brides are doing it up Jersey style. This special goes inside a bridal shop in New Jersey that caters to loud and proud brides as they hunt for their perfect dress while dealing with their very opinionated friends, fiancés and family members. It’s love, marriage and happily ever after – Jersey style. (Q3, 2012)

The Bubble Man (working title)
Chandra Wisnu’s skin has been so badly ravaged by tumors he is known as “The Bubble Man.” His horrible condition has taken over his life and now symptoms of this condition are appearing in his two adult children. World-renowned dermatologist Dr. Anthony Gaspari travels to Indonesia to try to find a cure for Chandra and save his children from the affliction that he has endured for the past 36 years. (Q3, 2012)

DC Cupcakes: Mommy’s Birthday Bash
It’s Mommy’s 60th birthday and Sophie and Katherine want to honor her in the best possible way – with a surprise birthday party, complete with a life-size Greek statue of Mommy made out of cupcakes.  But before they can prepare for the party, the sisters must handle one of the busiest weekends in Georgetown Cupcake history, filling orders for eight weddings.  Stress and tension mount as Sophie and Katherine must find time to run their business and make the elaborate preparations for Mommy’s surprise party.  (Q2, 2012)

DC Cupcakes: NY Store Opening (working title)
The sisters of Georgetown Cupcake are expanding and they’ve got their sights on the Big Apple.  Watch as Sophie and Katherine set out to find their newest location, build it out and train an entire new staff in less than four weeks.  And to make a big splash of their arrival in New York, the sisters agree to make a life-size New York City taxi made out of cupcakes for an annual doggie-fashion show for the charity Angels on a Leash. (Q2, 2012)

Little People, Big World Specials (working title)
2012 is a big year for the Roloff family and the TLC cameras will be there to capture their new adventures: Molly will be graduating from high school and going away to college, Zach will finally be moving off the farm and into his own place, Jacob turns 16 and learns how to drive and Amy will turn 50, which Matt plans to mark with a surprise trip retracing their romantic steps on a nostalgic recreation of their honeymoon in San Francisco and along the California Coast. (Q2 & Q3, 2012)

Maids of Dishonor (working title)
One thing is certain – planning a wedding is no piece of cake! As a bride-to-be, you have multiple events to organize, tons of decisions to make, and endless fires to put out. So to help maintain your sanity, you ask your best girlfriends to be your partners in (wedding) crime, and become your bridesmaids. But what happens when your ‘ladies in waiting’ aren’t the solution to your stress; they’re the cause of it? (Q3, 2012)

Dr. McKinnon Tumor Specials (working title)
They are some of the most bizarre and extreme tumors ever encountered and there’s only one surgeon in the world who is both willing and qualified to take the cases. Join Dr. McKay McKinnon as he attempts life-saving surgeries for four unique patients. (Q2, 2012)

Mario Lopez Wedding Special (working title)
TLC is partnering with Mario Lopez and his fiancé Courtney Mazza to follow along as they prepare for their perfect wedding. The network will join the couple as they navigate through the planning process, discover the perfect dress and celebrate their love at their wedding with their family and friends. The entire experience will air as a special television event shortly after the ceremony later this year. (Q4, 2012)

My Mother Diana
Nearly thirty years after his parents exchanged their wedding vows, Prince William walked down the aisle at Westminster Abbey with his new bride. “My Mother Diana” looks at how Diana’s life, her relationship with the House of Windsor, the media and the public have shaped her eldest son, Prince William. When a twenty-year-old Lady Diana Spencer married Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, their wedding at St. Paul’s was watched by billions. But that relationship would develop into a romantic tragedy, whose effects would be more profound than anyone could have imagined. (Q2, 2012)

Obese & Expecting
Maria, Alissa, Denise and Jeanette are four moms-to-be with a common problem: morbid obesity. This hour-long special dives deep into their pregnancy struggles and their hopes of delivering healthy babies. Through major health crisis, excessive weight gain and relationship drama, they share it all. These women are challenging the perception and the odds of obese pregnancies as they become moms, no matter their size or complications.  (Q2, 2012)

William & Kate: One Year Later (working title)
Charts the life of the pair since their marriage on April 29, 2011, exploring their Royal engagements and private moments that have kept Britain and the world enthralled. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are the very definition of a modern Royal couple, charming everyone they meet with their unfussy style, down to earth values and impeccable manners. They’ve been busy encouraging patients on hospital visits and rubbing elbows with Hollywood stars.  (Q2, 2012)

Ultimate Dress Quest (working title)
At Vows, a designer bridal outlet in Boston, bridal bargains are big business and no one works a deal like owners Leslie and Rick DeAngelo – the Nation’s premier scavengers of designer wedding dresses.  Hunting through factory attics, boutique back rooms and department store warehouses, these two leave no gown unturned.  Whether it’s to please a bargain-hunting bridal fashionista or a budget bride in need of a much deserved break, Leslie and Rick will do just about anything to find those diamonds in the rough and figure out how to turn damaged gowns into dollars and dreams. (Q3, 2012)