The Top 10 Money Making Shows of TLC

TLC stands for The Learning Channel. This specialty channel is owned by Discovery Communications. It can trace its roots from the Appalachian Community Service Network in 1972 before it became The Learning Channel in 1980. Most of its programs were initially educational in nature. In 2001, however, TLC started to focus more on reality shows involving family life, lifestyles and personal stories.

Here is a list of the top 10 money-making shows of TLC. Most of the shows listed are current, though we have also included a couple of shows that had helped make TLC what it is today. Besides, with the channel’s current worldwide reach, these shows are still being broadcasted in other countries. They are also still available for download on iTunes and Amazon, thus raking in even more money for the network.


10 My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding

The show was copied from a British documentary aired on Channel 4 entitled “Big Fat Gypsy Weddings,” which explored the lives and traditions of Irish Traveller families as they prepare for a wedding. It also featured Romanichal people, or British gypsies. It was then aired in the United States as “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.” A spin off was then created that featured American gypsies, mostly from the Romanichal ethnic group. The show aired its debut on April 29, 2012 and has received consistent and decent ratings.


9 Long Island Medium

This reality series features Theresa Caputo, a medium based in Hicksville, New York. It follows her life as she attempts to fulfill her obligations to both clients and her family even as she communicates with people who have already passed away. While her family has accepted her skill and special talent, her line of work may also be putting a strain on their relationship. The series made its debut on September 25, 2011.


8 Extreme Couponing

This is a show that features shoppers involved in an activity that mixes shopping skills with couponing to be able to save as much money while taking home as many groceries as possible. The people featured on the show uses coupons extensively in order to collect large quantities of goods. It debuted in 2010 and the ratings exceeded even the most ambitious estimate of the channel.


7 Breaking Amish

The show features five young Anabaptist adults, including four Amish and one Mennonite, who all made the move to New York. It follows the cast members as they experience the realities of living in the big city. New experiences involving lifestyle, romance, friendship and work, as well as its effects on the relationship of the cast members, are shown. The decision-making process of whether they should stay in New York or return to their respective communities is highlighted.


6 Toddlers & Tiaras

This is another controversial show from TLC. “Toddlers & Tiaras” follows the families of contestants in child beauty pageants. Critics have lambasted the show for making the kids resemble adult counterparts. The show made its debut in 2009.


5 Here Comes Honey Boo Boo

This show has the potential to be the channel’s best moneymaking show.  It made its debut on August 8, 2012. It has performed extremely well in the ratings, even beating out the broadcast network’s coverage of the Republican National Convention. The show is actually a spin-off of another TLC show entitled “Toddlers & Tiaras.” It follows the life of the Thompson family, featuring Alana or more popularly known as Honey Boo Boo. Honey Boo Boo is a child beauty pageant contestant from Georgia.  The show has been described as exploitative and offensive, but a must see nevertheless.


4 17 Kids and Counting

The key word here is counting. The show made its debut on TLC on September 29, 2008 as “17 Kids and Counting.” It was renamed “18 Kids and Counting” in 2009. The following year, it was again renamed to “19 Kids and Counting.” It features the Duggar family, namely Jim Bob and Michelle and their 19 children. All their kids have names starting with the letter J. A 20th child was expected in 2012, but Michelle suffered a miscarriage.


3 Cake Boss

The show follows the daily operations of Carlo’s Bakery, a family-owned business based in Hoboken in New Jersey. It shows how the cakes are made, as well as the interpersonal relationship among the members and employees of the shop. The show helped dramatically increase tourism in Hoboken. The shop itself has become a tourist attraction with lines forming around the block just to enter the shop. The street was even renamed by Hoboken to “Carlo’s Bakery Way.”


2 Trading Spaces

This was a reality program that was shown on both TLC and the Discovery Home network. It was based on the format originated by the BBC show entitled “Changing Rooms.” The show allows two sets of neighbors to redecorate a room in each other’s home for a limited budget and time. It is credited for the nationwide boom in interest in home decorating and improvement shows in the country. It also inspired a couple of books and even a computer software program. One of its carpenters also ended up as the host of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” on ABC. The series ran from 2000 to 2008.


1 Jon & Kate Plus 8

The show features the lives and challenges faced by the Gosselin family, namely the parents Jon and Kate, as well as their eight children, including a sextuplet and fraternal twins. It was originally shown on the Discovery Health Channel before moving to TLC on its third season. It can trace its roots from a couple of one-hour specials entitled “Surviving Sextuplets and Twins” and “Sextuplets and Twins: One Year Later.” At its peak, it was beating even the shows on broadcast networks. The couple got a divorce in 2009, and TLC renamed the show to “Kate Plus 8.” Jon filed for a cease-and-desist, however. The series was eventually cancelled after airing 148 episodes.

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