TLC has been an educational channel all along. Lately, it has taken things up a notch by featuring reality TV shows that center around people’s lifestyles and family life. It has featured people dealing with obesity, dwarfism, addictions, polygamy and so many other topics. Like many other TV networks, TLC has also put in a lot of money, time and effort into filming and producing shows so it is only fair that the owners keep a watchful eye on their investment.
However, the network seems to have gone overboard with this. A number of reality stars claim that TLC has gone bananas in wanting to keep their ratings up. They say that some of the conditions imposed on them are bizarre and that if they do not abide by them then they have to wrap up and find something else to do. Let us look at some of these rules and decide for ourselves.
20 Cast Members Must Undergo Background Checks
Before TLC casts any reality star, they must carry a thorough background check on them as revealed by Readers Digest. They will interview the star, call their employer, family, and friends, check for substance use as well as carry out psychological tests and physical exams. Some producers use the information gathered later on in the show.
19 Agree To Long Working Hours
Buzznet claims that producers make reality stars stay up late and push their lunch breaks in an attempt to irritate the stars so that they can be more dramatic during filming. They also take an episode or very little footage from a whole day of filming which means the cameras must be kept rolling to get more content.
18 Keep No Secrets From The Network
Reality stars have to disclose all their skeletons to avoid disrupting the show later on. A show can be successful but if a scandal breaks out, the network can have no choice but to stop airing the show and disassociate themselves from the star. According to HuffPost, a network can also sue if there is a non-disclosure clause in the contract.
17 Hide Their Past From Viewers
As disclosed by screenrant, TLC has in the past taken on stars with not so clean pasts to attract more viewership but in most cases, this has done more harm than good for them. Therefore, they tell their stars to keep their indiscretions to themselves to avoid losing ratings for the show.
16 Have No Right To Privacy
Any person who agrees to sign up for a reality show accepts to signing off their privacy. Producers can make use of any content they capture for the sake of good TV no matter how hard a star expresses his or her displeasure. Buzznet recommends getting an entertainment lawyer to thoroughly review a contract before signing to avoid being at the mercy of producers.
15 Follow A Script
This may come as a shock to some but reality shows are scripted. Most of what we see is a facade as confirmed by screenrant. Scenes go through a lot of editing, the producers shoot some of them again, and they cut clips from various sections to create a catchy storyline. Most reality stars will play along with the charades for the sake of keeping their show on the air.
14 Allow The Network To Cast Their Character
Anything can happen on reality TV. A good friend can make it on TV and end up being a villain. It is common for networks to edit the character of a person to make good TV as Thetalko points out and most of the time, the TV stars have no say in how the show portrays them, their role rests entirely at the discretion of the producers.
13 Refrain From Listening To Music While Filming Is Going On
This rule is in force to protect the network from copyrighted material. Screenrant explains that a network is supposed to pay hefty amounts of money when they air any song that they have no rights to. Even filming a star humming a song can land a network into trouble and it is for this reason that they request families to stay away from the radio during filming.
12 Use Certain Products
Most filming is on the network’s dime. To save money therefore, Buzznet says that they will enter into partnership deals with certain companies so that they can get cheaper products and services. A good example is in situations where they chip in to pay for a family vacation. They can request the family to use certain airlines or taxi companies that the network deals with.
11 Stay Married
TLC is all about fostering family relationships and a number of their shows revolve around the family unit. Whenever a couple they have been filming decides to split, they disrupt the show. According to Thetalko, the network will, therefore, try its best to keep a couple together for their own interest.
10 Date People The Network Approves Of
TLC invests a lot of money into films which means they have vested interest in the success of the show and will do anything to prevent the show’s ratings from going down. One of the ways they protect themselves is by monitoring the kind of people the casts interact with including potential partners as stated on screenrant.
9 Mind What They Say On And Off Air
Since reality TV stars play roles, when the cameras are not rolling, these stars still have to remain in character; after all, the person on TV is who they are supposed to be in real life. They are therefore careful about what they say both on and off-air so that it does not conflict with their supposed character as explained by screenrant.
8 Be Careful About What They Post On Social Media
Screenrant continues to say that TLC families should also watch what they post on social media because a number of fans also follow the lives of their favorite stars away from the cameras. Anything posted on the Internet is also hard to take off, deny, or control from spreading. Slip-ups on social media can easily get out of hand.
7 Watch Their Spending
TLC sometimes pays for family holidays in the hope of catching good content from the cast while they are on vacation. However, they will keep tabs on what is being spent to avoid portraying the family as too well off as revealed by Buzznet. They also do this to make sure that the money spent does not surpass the returns on their investment.
6 Don’t Expect Children To Be Paid
Quite a number of shows on TLC feature children who sadly never see a dime of the money the network makes from appearing on the show. Spouses of reality stars have also come forward claiming that they have never received compensation for their appearance on the show. The stingy network, as labeled by screenrant, hardly leaves room for negotiations when the minors grow up.
5 Use Extra People For Free
If TLC does not pay kids, who have starred in shows for years it will definitely not pay people who appear for 10 seconds on their shows. According to Buzznet, the network refers to such people as unpaid volunteers. They only use them for their talent and drop them like hot cake once done with them.
4 Pay Taxes
Any person who makes money on TV must part with some of the cash and pay tax. For example, guests who appear on What Not To Wear receive funding of up to $5000. However, they cannot spend all the money. The government can claim as much as $2000 as tax payment as revealed by Thetalko.
3 No Revealing Spoilers
Discussing spoilers and posting about them on social media is strictly forbidden. Ranker reminds TLC families that revealing the outcome of a particular episode before it airs has serious consequences. This rule appears in the contracts clearly and breaking it attracts heavy monetary penalties and reduces the chances of ever appearing on another show.
2 Show Up For Confessionals and Reunions
Part of what makes reality shows interesting are confessionals and reunions. Stars get a chance to tell their side of the story as well as confront one another. Most contracts have this clause so a cast member will have no option but to meet their obligation even long after a show has stopped filming as stated on Buzznet.
1 They Can’t Appear On Other Shows
Most networks including TLC do not easily allow their stars to move to other networks once they feature in their TV shows. They legally bind the star as disclosed by Thetalko and make it impossible for a reality star to appear in another show especially on another network. This is probably one of the reasons spin-off shows arise to keep reality stars busy and on TV.
Sources: Buzznet, Screenrant, HuffPost, Readers Digest.