I got an email this week from Michael Petrella, a casting associate producer at Optomen Productions, working with The Learning Channel on casting a new television series called “The House of Tiny Terrors” about children with behavioral, sleeping, or eating problems. The show is a hit in Great Britain and TLC is adapting it for American television.
...this exciting new format takes parenting television to a totally new dimension by fusing reality TV with observational documentary to observe families solving their behavioral problems. This is not reality TV. This is reality with a purpose. Three families will be selected with toddlers and young children, each suffering from a parenting problem. They will be invited to a residence in the UK where they will learn the skills they need to turn their lives around in just six days. The house consists of a living area, a garden with a gazebo, conservatory, deck, and playground that the families will all share. Each of the families will also have their own private suite with master bedroom, children’s room, and bathroom.
Our ideal families have children between the ages of 18 months and 8 years old. We would love to hear from all families: single parents, alternative lifestyle parents, teen parents, ethnic minority parents, anyone and everyone!
After my friend's experience on Dr. Phil, I wrote Michael with my concerns about editing the video to make parents look like idiots just for entertainment purposes. (You know,, let's make fun of those stupid parents, so we feel better our own parenting shortcomings.) He wrote back:
...the show is very much documentary style. They have an overview of “problems,” then have a psychiatrist speak with the parents (and children) and try to fix the problem. I got a chance to view the British version, and it’s very well done and respectful, and in no way invasive.
While the families are filmed 24 hours, the editing revolves around showing the audience the problem and the doctor’s methods of fixing it.
Very little in television is real, and I’m happy to say that this is probably the most real show I’ve been a part of. It should do a lot of good, not just for the parents that are selected but for the families that watch from home!
So whatever your parenting dilemmas or problems – TLC may be able to help! If you would like some more information, contact the producers at email@example.com or 646.216.4348. No commitment is needed at this stage and all calls will be treated with strict confidence.
(Just got an email from my sister who lives in Europe. She's seen the show and says., "It was quite good...real without needing to put shock value and filmed in a way that you can pick up tips and without making the parents look like idiots.")