16 Rules TLC Makes Their TV Families Follow (And 4 Who Broke Them)

The TLC network has established itself as the mecca for wholesome family reality goodness. They have brought us families like the Gosselins, The Duggars, The Roloffs, and the Busbys. Fans of the network have spent hours glued to their television sets waiting for brides to say yes to that special dress, checking in on unconventional families, like that of the Brown Family, and wondering what confectionary concoction the Cake Boss would whip up that week.

TLC has become one of the most recognized television stations to date and has everyone wishing that they could get a little piece of the reality pie. Being a reality star is not as simple as it seems, though. Much more goes into the business than just living your lives out while cameras roll. If you want TLC to cut you a big check, then there are some rules you'll have to live by.

Check out these 16 rules TLC makes their families follow and four families that went against the grain.

20 Say Goodbye To Private Lives


TLC reality stars have to agree to give up their private life when they sign their contracts. When the cameras stop rolling, people will still be curious about them, and unlike a movie role, they never get out of character, because the show is based on their lives. These everyday people sometimes struggle with their newfound 24 hours day fame.

19 Rule Breaker Alert! Paige David Didn't Keep Bedroom Business In The Bedroom

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TLC wants to know every in and out of what their reality stars are up to, but they do not necessarily want the rest of the world to know. Paige David lost her job as a host on Trading Spaces because some of her more private moments were shared with the public. TLC didn't want any of that reflecting on them, so Paige got the ax.

18 Undergo Background Checks

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Per buzznet.com, background checks for TLC cast members are a must. These checks help producers and show creators know what kinds of people they are hiring. They don't always catch everything that happened in a reality star's past, but most of the dirty laundry will at least be known before filming begins. The fewer surprises, the better.

17 Rule Breaker Alert! The Dillards Made A Social Media No-No

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Jill Dillard got let go from her TLC series that she appeared on with her super-sized family, The Duggars,  because of some unsavory comments that her husband made on his social media channel. TLC is not okay with its reality stars letting loose with their words, and Derrick Dillard went against the grain here. His posts cost him and Jill their reality stardom.

16 Stick To What The Script Says

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More than one reality television show has been accused of being scripted to some extent. Reality stars working with TLC are expected to stick to the storylines. There is likely some wiggle room here, as they aren't acting in a major film or television show, but they can't go rogue.

15 Rule Breaker Alert! Mama June Didn't Watch Who She Dated

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No, TLC does not choose their reality television stars' future spouses for them, but they do have some hard lines in the sand when it comes to who their employees can not spend time with. Mama June of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo romanced a fellow that was a less than a stellar guy. He had made some severe past transgressions, and they were enough for TLC to give June and her family the boot.

14 Work For Free

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Some of TLC's most prominent names make some serious bank, but others don't! Not all TLC reality stars make the same amount of money. Some of the child actors on the network's reality shows make next to nothing. Per nypost.com, the kids on Toddlers and Tiaras worked for free!

13 Go With Their Flow When It Comes To Speeding Up Production


Guests appearing on Say Yes To The Dress learned that TLC has a specific way of doing things. One bride-to-be appearing on the show was surprised to learn that she didn't get her pick of dresses but instead had to choose from four pre-selected gowns in order to speed up production.

12 Rule Breaker Alert! Josh Duggar Didn't Stick To Certain Family Values

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The network has some families with iffy values, to be sure. What they don't have are reality stars whose values are way out of sync with the network's core beliefs. Per buzznet.com, when the show is airing, TLC stars must stick to the wholesome facade. Josh Duggar learned this the hard way after he lost his spot on his show because of the choices that he made.

11 Rule Breaker Alert! Jon Gosselin Didn't Respect His Marriage

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TLC prides itself on wholesomeness, so they were not okay with former reality star Jon Gosselin supposedly stepping out on his wife with someone close to the family. Per fame10.com, Jon's lapse in judgment cost him his reality television fame as well as his family.

10 Consider Certain Designers

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This one goes for Say Yes To The Dress specifically. Pnina Tornai is one of Kleinfeld's top designers, so brides looking for the perfect gown almost always have to consider at least one of her creations. Per buzznet.com, a bride's budget, and preference might go out the window for a Tornai frock to get shown on television.

9 Reveal Personal Past Information

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TLC wants to know what their cast members were up to before the cameras ever got rolling, hence the background checks. The last thing that the network wants is a breaking story on their hands. When the network knows about possible skeletons in the reality stars' closets, they can do better damage control upfront.

8 Be Careful With Their Musical Choices

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This rule was created because of copyright laws. TLC reality stars have to be extra careful about any musical choices that they share while cameras are rolling. Per Screenrant.com and buzznet.com, networks like TLC have to hand money over anytime a song airs, and they don't have rights to the piece. This is why you never see the TLC reality stars playing the radio and listening to their favorite artists.

7 Stay Together For Ratings

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The is no better example of this than Jon and Kate Gosselin. The couple finally called things quits back in 2009, but later claimed that the network had a little something to do with them hanging in there for as long as they did. Per buzznet.com, TLC producers encouraged the couple to stick it out for the sake of the show.

6 Let Production Use Whatever Sound Clips They Want

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Whatever footage or sound the crew catches is fair game when putting an episode together. Just because reality stars slip up and say or do something, they don't want airing doesn't mean it is going on the cutting room floor. Per buzznet.com, many former reality stars recommend newbies get themselves an entertainment lawyer, in hopes of maintaining a shred of privacy.

5 Monitoring Spending

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TLC wants to make sure their stars appear just as they have envisioned, so they monitor their reality stars' spending habits. Per buzznet.com, super famous families like the Duggars and the Gosselins had purchasing recommendations. TLC never wanted them to be seen as benefitting to the extreme from their reality show work.

4 Vacation When They Say

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Sometimes TLC pays for their reality stars' lavish vacations. When they do foot the bill, they are also going to have some say in what goes down. Per buzznet.com, TLC trips that are paid in full means that the production team has complete say over where the stars go, how long they stay, and what they do while they are there.

3 Play The Villian If They Say So

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The network decides who will be portrayed as the "villain" in any given reality show. If stars don't like the hand that they were dealt, that's too darn bad. Per buzznet.com, the storylines come before people's feelings about edits. This villainizing of reality stars can make for sour feelings and awkward reunion shows.

2 Agree To Fudge Timelines And Outcomes

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TLC's My 600LB Life is all about big numbers and dramatic results. Per buzznet.com, TLC needs everyone on that particular series to look like a huge success story. Sometimes the network needs cast members to fudge the numbers on the scale of the lb loss timeline just a bit. In this case, reality does not exactly equate to truth.

1 Embrace The Drama

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Strange rituals, embellished outcomes, and bizarre psychic readings that are really out there, TLC might need their stars to get on the drama train or get off of their payroll. Per buzznet.com, TLC stars have the right to refuse to participate in the drama that production teams cook up, but that could create a drop in ratings and even a loss of jobs for the stars.

Resources: buzznet.com

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