Guide to TLC Reality Shows




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When it comes to reality shows, TLC is one of our favorite networks. While many channels focus on competitions and game shows, the shows on TLC feature a prominent person who solve issues. Whether it is My 600 pound life, Dr Pimple Popper, or Say Yes to the Dress. Each of the shows is a procedural that follows regular people going to a place of business. The audience gets to follow their journey.

TLC Brand Reality Shows

The main shows on TLC are medium-budget shows that focus on documenting people in their real life. They don’t have a lot of competition shows. The shows can break into two categories. The first type of show is procedurals in which a person goes through a specific event in their life. This could be dealing with a cyst, buying a wedding dress or getting gastric bypass surgery. In these shows, there is a person of the week and we learn all about their life and what their goals are.

These shows have reoccurring characters who are the people providing the services. These shows are especially easy to get cast on when compared to reality shows like Survivor, Big Brother, or Bachelor.

The second type of show is the one that follows individual people. These are shows like I am Jazz or My Big Fat Fabulous life. These shows are incredibly difficult to cast on because there are a limited number of on-air slots per year. Additionally, the production company will need to spend considerable time and money to film, edit and produce the show. If it doesn’t connect with the audience, it’s more difficult to pivot. Normally to star in a show like this, you’ll need to have some form of social media following or ability to demonstrate that people are interested in your life before you get a TV show.

A few years back TLC had a form that allowed them to submit ideas and pitches for their show; however, that was removed, or at least I can’t find it listed on their site. One of our old posts was about people sharing their experience pitching shows, and at least half of the submissions to our blog were from people who had pitched a show to TLC that didn’t end up going anywhere.

I guess that TLC was inundated with show ideas that they just decided that sorting through them wasn’t worth the effort. Instead, now they can work with existing production companies who know how to screen ideas to find the gems in the rough.

How to apply for a reality show on TLC

If you are interested in a specific TLC show, I recommend contacting the production company behind it. They will often have an application form as well as guidelines for contestants to appear on the show.

Note: Many shows will require the people who appear on their show to be responsible for their travel, lodging, and expenses while filming the show. Furthermore, they may also require releases that give them creative control over how you will be shown in the final version.

If you want to get a list of all TLC shows that are currently accepting applications, you can find that list here along with the best way to contact the individual production companies.


In the meantime, if you’ve applied for a TLC show, whether you made it to the audition or got on the air, we’d love to hear from you. Over the six years we’ve operated, we’ve spoken to many people who’ve been on reality shows. We love hearing the behind-the-scenes information, and it helps us make the site better for our readers. If you’re like to tell us about your experience, we’d love to hear from you.

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One response to “Guide to TLC Reality Shows”

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