As most people are aware of by now, Matt Roloff announced on August 26th, 2010 that Season 6 would be the final season of Little People, Big World. Matt has made subsequent Facebook comments declaring his excitement in announcing the news and hinting that there is a spin off show lined up.
There have already been differing reports about whose decision it was to end the show.
E online states TLC decided to "pull the plug" on the show.
Other sites such as TV Squad are going by Matt's own comments on his Facebook Fan Page noting that Matt seems to indicate it was the Roloffs decision, although he provided no reason:
"According to statements made by Matt on his and the 'Little People, Big World' Facebook pages, the decision to end the show may have come from him and not TLC, though Roloff gave no reason for ending the show."
It is worth mentioning that as recently as July, Matt said they planned to do the show for "at least 2 more years" (at the 3:40 mark in this interview with the Portland TV station KOIN).
The news on August 26th that this is the last season suggests this is a change from the what the Roloffs were expecting ("at least 2 more years" -- Matt Roloff, July 2010).
So that is what Matt had to say in his annoucement about Season 6 being the final season for LPBW.
However, we are being told a very different version of what happened by people within the industry connected to the show. This is what we are told that everyone within the industry -- there are obviously hundreds of people connected and working for the show, and this is what we are told they all know to be what really happened as it relates to the show coming to an end:
TLC cancelled the show Little People, Big World; the decision to pull the plug and not continue beyond the current Season 6 was entirely and totally the decision of TLC and not the Roloffs. Out of respect to the Roloffs for their longevity -- over 5 years and 200 episodes -- TLC extended the courtesy of allowing Matt Roloff to break the news and spin it how he pleased. It is uncommon for a television network to allow the star of the show release news such as this, usually they just send a basic press release, but TLC was being gracious and extending respect to the Roloffs as appreciation for their many years by allowing Matt to phrase it how he wanted and to break the news.
There is also no spin off show in the plans at the moment, we are told. Matt has been hinting about a spin off show and people have speculated for many years that twins Jeremy and Zach Roloff might get a spin off show centering around them living on their own with some of their close friends. We are told that is incorrect. There are no plans for that. The spin-off talk is still what it has been for several years. Nothing more than the producer that is closest to the Roloffs as a friend, kicking around the idea of 'Hey wouldn't it be great to do a show about Jeremy, Zach and their friends?' type of thing. However, that's as far as it goes -- we are being told. It takes a lot more for a show to become a reality than a producer having an idea. As for Matt immediately hinting and teasing about spin off shows on his Facebook Fan page? We are told that it is Matt Roloffs M.O. to throw ideas out there in the hopes that someone will take them up on it.
Contrary to the talk for many years, there is no spin-off show set up centering around Jeremy and Zach Roloff and some of their close friends often seen on the show.
That is what we are told really happened and this is what people connected to the show know how it played out. Obviously there are hundreds and hundreds of people employed and connected to show and this is common knowledge to people within the industry and with the show.
So the bare bones/straight to the point announcement could have simply been - TLC decided to cancel the show/not continue beyond Season 6. There is no spin off show. End of announcement.
We are told everything about the announcement released by Matt and Matt's subsequent comments are all Matt "spin". Again, TLC extended the courtesy of allowing the Roloffs to release the news how the Roloffs wanted.
The fact is ratings have been falling for Little People, Big World. It once consistently raked in ratings in the 2's. Season 5 Part A scored a lot of ratings in the range of 1.7, 1.8. When an episode in Season 5A had a rating of 1.4, we mentioned that was well below what is usual and expected for LPBW. At the time, through his website, Matt insisted ratings were great and stated that they were in good shape as long as it's over 1 million (1.0). However, Part B of Season 5 then continued to see ratings dip even further.
There was an episode that failed to attract over the 1.0 mark, and other episodes consistenly hovered around 1.1's and 1.2's. The finale featuring the cliffhanger ending of "Matt's collapse" did generate the highest rating of Season 5B at a 2.085 -- however TLC did catch some flack for what some people saw as a cheap trick and publicity stunt by playing on people's emotions by making some trusting viewers think that Matt had some serious health crisis -- when Matt has since stated it was only a dizzy spell caused by vertigo and although they ended the season with that, it was actually filmed well before almost everything else viewers saw during Season 5B:
The fact is the ratings had dropped for LPBW standards. It was still okay for a cable show and still beats some other TLC shows most weeks. However, it should be taken into account that it's more expensive to produce than some of the other and newer shows that also hover around the 1.0 mark in ratings. Obviously after having such a long and impressive run, the Roloffs salary is understandably higher than stars of some newer shows. You could look at it using a general sporting analogy. If a baseball player hits 50 home runs, the team pays the player $20 million. If in the next season, that player hits 20 home runs, is the team going to be happy? No. Is 20 Home Runs still the same or better than some other players? Yes. However, they aren't going to be happy because of what it is costing them, they are paying the player to hit 50 home runs. If that player is going to hit 20 home runs now, they might as well cut that player and get someone cheaper and only spend what is usual for a 20 home run player. It's the same concept with LPBW dropping down around the 1.0 and 1.1 mark in the ratings.
Our sources also tell us that TLC had to dramatically slash the Roloffs travel budget for Season 6.
Friends of the Roloffs have already begun making public comments to Matt congratulating the Roloffs on "your decision". A person claiming to be a friend of the Roloffs is also adamantly posting that it was the Roloffs decision along with these details:
Our sources connected to TLC/producers/industry insiders read those comments on our site and simply say it is not true -- it is "spin" and "BS".
Amy Roloff made a statement to Entertainment Tonight. Her words were more to the point and lacked the same "spin" as Matt's subsequent comments. Amy states it was a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" and "As this chapter in my life comes to a close..."
"I truly feel blessed for all these wonderful years," she added. "'Little People, Big World' has been a wonderful once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that has enriched my life, Matt's life and our kid's lives. As this chapter in my life comes to a close, I look forward to the many opportunities and new experiences that are yet to come and will still diligently continue my efforts with my charity the Amy Roloff Charity Foundation."
Obviously when there are two versions of what happened, individuals are going to believe what they want. People have heard and are reading Matt's version and we feel we owe it to people to allow them a chance to hear what we are told -- that people connected to the show/TLC/Production company are saying it was TLC's decision to pull the plug and there is no spin off show as we speak -- and Matt's whole tone of comments on his Facebook Fan Page comments regarding the end of the show is "spin".
Our site has always been about attempting to pass along the real story -- the truth as we know it; whatever that might be -- to fans and followers of the Roloffs. And that is what we have been told is the real story.