- TLC (TV channel)
Infobox TV channel
name = TLC: The Learning Channel
logofile = TLC Logo.svg|200px
1972(as Appalachian Community Service Network)
owner = Discovery Communications, LLC
slogan = TLC. Life Surprises.
Silver Spring, MD, United States
sister names = Discovery Networks |Discovery Home Channel] |History Channel] |The Military Channel] |The Science Channel] |Discovery Kids] |Planet Green] |Discovery Health Channel] |Travel Channel] |TLC] |Animal Planet]
web = [http://tlc.discovery.com/ TLC USA]
terr avail = Not Available
terr serv 1 =
terr chan 1 =
adsl serv 1 = TELUS TV
adsl chan 1 = Channel 140
sat serv 1 =
sat chan 1 = Channel 280
Channel 1280 (VOD)
sat serv 2 =
sat chan 2 = Channel 183
sat serv 3 =
sat chan 3 = AMC 10-Channel 604 (4DTV Digital)
sat serv 4 =
sat chan 4 = Channel 521
sat serv 5 =
sat chan 5 = Channel 560
cable serv 1 = Available on most cable systems
cable chan 1 = Check local listings for details
TLC (generally called as The Learning Channel) is a cable TV network in the US and
Canada, that carries a variety of informational and reality-based programming. TLC has been owned by Discovery Communicationssince 1991, the same company that operates the Discovery Channel, Animal Planetand The Science Channel, as well as other learning-themed networks.
TLC imports a significant amount of programming material from the
United Kingdom(such as " Junkyard Wars") mostly through its parent company's ties to the BBCand also produces U.S. versions of some shows (like "What Not to Wear", originally a BBCproduction) as well as original programming (like " Robotica").
High Definitionsimulcast of TLC launched September 1, 2007. It is currently available on Cox, Dish Network, DirecTV, Shaw Cable, Insight Communications, Bright House Networks, and Comcast.
The Learning Channel: “a place for learning minds”
The letters "TLC" come from the original name: "The Learning Channel." The channel was founded in
1972originally dedicated to be an informative/instructional network focused on providing real education through the medium of TV. The channel would eventually be known as the Appalachian Community Service Network. [http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20050815/news_1c15bravo.html] In November 1980, the channel became known as The Learning Channel. [http://www.cablecenter.org/education/exhibits/november.cfm] The channel mostly featured documentary content pertaining to nature, science, history, current events, medicine, technology, cooking, home improvement, and other information-based topics. These are often agreed to be more focused, more technical, and of a more academic-nature than the content that was being broadcast at the time on its rival, The Discovery Channel. The station was geared towards an inquisitive and narrow audience during this time and had modest ratings.
In 1991, the rival The Discovery Channel purchased The Learning Channel. Discovery purportedly “jazzed things up”. The Learning Channel continued to be focused primarily on instructional and educational programming through much of the '90s, but began to air shows less focused on education and more themed towards popular consumption and mass-marketing that would be later expanded.
TLC still aired educational programmes such as "Paleoworld" (a show about prehistoric creatures), though more and more of its programming began to be devoted to niche audiences for shows regarding subjects like home improvement (HomeTime and Home Savvy were two of the first), arts and crafts (similar to
Martha Stewart), crime programmes such as The New Detectivesand medical programming (particularly reality-based ones following real operations of real people and following them through the process), and other shows that appealed to daytime audiences, particularly housewives. This was to be indicative of a major change in programming content and target audience over the next few years.
"Life Unscripted": A New Direction
Perhaps due to poor ratings from a narrow target audience, TLC began to explore new avenues starting in the mid '90s and increasingly towards and after the advent of the 21st century. Less and less material that most would deem to be truly educational in nature was featured on the channel. This was likely due to better ratings being achieved by shows such as these, as TLC brought in more viewers that were less-interested in the other content being featured on the channel.
In 1998, the channel officially began to distance itself from its original name “The Learning Channel”, and instead began to advertise itself only as “TLC”. It is possible the new audience may have held the common misconception that TLC stood for “Tender Loving Care”, a common initialism. The marketing maneuver to use only “TLC” may have been intended to encourage this misconception, as the station moved more towards reality-based personal-story programming that would engage a wider, more mainstream audience.
During the period of 1999–2001 there was a huge shift in programming, with most programming geared towards reality-drama, and interior design shows. The huge success of shows like
Trading Spaces, Junkyard Wars, A Wedding Story, and A Baby Storyexemplify this new shift in programming towards trendier, more hip shows; shows which many would argue are not educational at all.
This came at a time when Discovery itself was overhauling much of its own programming, introducing shows like
American Chopper. Much of the old, more educationally-focused programming missed by original fans of the channel can still be found occasionally dispersed amongst other channels owned by Discovery Communications. Most programming today is geared towards reality-based drama or interests such as home design, emergency room dramas, other medical dramas, extreme weather, law enforcement, dating, and human interest programs.
"Live and learn"
March 27, 2006, the network launched a new look and promotional campaign, dropping the "Life Unscripted" tag and going with the new theme, "Live and learn", trying to turn around the network's reliance on decorating shows and reality TVprogramming. As part of the new campaign, the channel's original name, The Learning Channel, has returned to occasional usage in promotions. The new theme also plays on life lessons.
In early March 2008, TLC launched a slightly refreshed look and promotional campaign. TLC's new slogan is Life Surprises.
A British version of the channel was launched in the mid-1990s and was subsequently renamed "Discovery Home and Leisure" and later
Discovery Real Timeas part of Discovery's catalog of themed channels.
* [http://www.cnn.com/2003/SHOWBIZ/TV/03/03/networkacronyms.ap/ CNN: When TV network changes name, look close (2003)]
* [http://www.metafilter.com/comments.mefi/7506 MetaFilter community weblog discussion on TV network name changes]
List of DirecTV channels
List of Dish Network channels
* [http://tlc.discovery.com/ Official Site]
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