TLC had a big hit with “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” starring 7-year-old Alana Thompson, but according to ratings released on Nov. 13, “Breaking Amish” is an even bigger hit. In fact, the freshman season of “Breaking Amish” was TLC’s biggest premiere since 2003’s debut of “What Not to Wear.” More households turned into this week’s season finale of “Breaking Amish” than “Honey Boo Boo.” However, both series are ratings success stories for TLC.
According to TV By The Numbers, a record 2.8 million people tuned in to watch Alana, the former “Toddlers & Tiaras” star, and her family for the mid-season finale at the end of September. TLC topped that record when 3 million people tuned in to watch the season finale of “Breaking Amish.” It outperformed “Revenge” on ABC and “The Good Wife” on CBS.
Season one of “Breaking Amish” provided a never-before-seen look inside the lives of young men and women as they traded horse and buggy for taxicabs and broke out from their respective Amish/Mennonite communities in their pursuit to chase big dreams in the Big Apple. On the Nov. 11 finale called “Breaking Amish – The Shunning Truth,” star Abe Schumaker refused to spill the beans about Rebecca’s marriage and her daughter. The father remains a clouded mystery, but more info might come from part two, which airs next Sunday on TLC.
With the huge season one successes of “Here Comes Honey Boo” and “Breaking Amish,” TLC executives are laughing all the way to the band. Both series are highly controversial, meaning they’re being talked about around water coolers across America. However, some TV fans are crying foul play because they seemingly capitalize on stereotypes. Alana’s catch phrases like “A dolla makes me holla!” and “You better redneckognize!” went viral this season and raised some eyebrows. TLC also came under fire when the media reported that “Breaking Amish” was fake because the cast had been living out of their isolated communities for years. The network fired back and stated, “”There is a lot of information floating around about the group featured on ‘Breaking Amish.’ Much of it is not true, but some of it is – and is addressed in upcoming episodes.”
One thing is certain, TLC has certainly strayed a long way from its beginning in 1980. Back then, the network mostly featured documentary content pertaining to nature, science, history, current events, medicine, technology, cooking and home improvement. Its motto was “A place for learning minds.” Now, TLC is most widely known for its wide of range of reality series, like “19 Kids and Counting,” “Cake Boss,” “Extreme Couponing,” “Sister Wives,” “Long Island Medium,” and “The Little Couple.” Its newest series “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” and “Breaking Amish” further cement TLC’s commitment to chase a younger, more lucrative audience.
“Breaking Amish: The Shunning Truth – Part Two” airs at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Sunday, Nov. 18. For fans missing Honey Boo Boo, Alana returns soon to TLC with two brand new specials for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Hoping to capitalize on the success of “Breaking Amish,” TLC’s sister network Discovery announced that its own new series called “Amish Mafia,” starring a small organized group of men who maintain peace and order within the Amish community in Lancaster, Pa., is set to debut on December 12 at 9 p.m.
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