Justin Bieber, Gosselin kids, altar boys are all getting TLC reality shows

This satirical, fictional story is part of the April 1, 2010, edition of reality blurred. Happy April Fool’s Day.

TLC announced several new reality shows today, including a docudrama about Justin Bieber tentatively called Being Bieber, a reality show about Jon and Kate Gosselin’s kids called Gosselins 24/Eight that will stream live on the Internet, and a reality show about altar boys produced with the Catholic church.

Gosselins 24/Eight will lock the kids in a safe house, where they will be home schooled and have their lives broadcast on the Internet, like Big Brother. They’ll compete for luxuries including running water, food, and affection from their parents, who will stop by the house once or twice a year, in-between appearances they’re doing all over the country “for the kids.”

The series will debut this summer and air continuously until the kids turn 18. “This children are still under contract with the network, which does not permit them to acquire resources without our permission,” a TLC source said. “We will not permit them to abdicate their responsibilities to make money for us. We also need to maximize the time that they are small, and our lawyers suggested filming them 24/7.” Big Brother producer Allison Grodner will produce the series, because according to the Gosselin kids’ contract, “Food and water may be contingent upon participation in challenges resembling ones drug-addled monkeys would create.”

Bieber’s show, which will be produced by Ryan Seacrest, will follow the teen sensation as he manages his career and puberty, all while trying to avoid Ryan Seacrest. The altar boy series, tentatively called, Boy Oh Boy! came about because, as a network source explained, “We’ve heard the Catholic Church has both a commitment to secrecy and access to young talent, and we’re eager to partner with anyone who can help us out in our quest to monetize humans.”

Meanwhile, after changing its name to TLC from The Learning Channel 12 years ago, TLC is again shifting its identity, adopting the tagline of “The Little Channel” to emphasize its focus on programming starring little people, both those of short stature and kids. “After the success of Little People, Big World, which followed the lives of a compelling and entertaining group of people who happened to have be little people, we kept ordering more series with little people, because we lack imagination and think our audience is dumb. Also, we excel at finding big families who’ve never heard of condoms, and figure we can keep airing shows with lots of little people of all kinds, and buy some time while we try to figure out how Sarah Palin fits in with our ‘little’ branding,” an anonymous executive explained.

The network also announced that it will continue to borrow formats from other networks even when it makes no sense, and also air programming with the word ‘little’ in the title, like Little Mermaid and, as a source said, “the various film adaptations of Jane Austen’s Little Women. Our research shows that our viewers are chicks who like to be condescended to and will think that fits with our new brand positioning.”

However, the network is standing by its decision to reject a series with Octomom Nadya Suleman, but not because of controversy. “We had a show with eight kids years ago! Now, if she’d put her eight kids in a balloon and released them over New York City during the morning talk shows, then we’d be in development on something, because that says TLC,” the executive said.

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.