So, everyone is asking "Is TLC bringing back the Little People, Big World series?
This has been a typical comment/email we've received:
Did you see Matt Roloff's latest facebook post about LPBW returning? Do you have any insight on this?
For the last month or two, Matt has been suggesting TLC has been beating down the Roloffs door to bring back the show. It reached a fever pitch yesterday, April 25th, when Matt posted on his Facebook Fan Page:
"Art, I thought we already announced that the show would be back. If not... Well do that soon as well" And "Amy and I just worked out a tentative filmIng schedule for the lpbw episodes we'll be filming this year".
For her part, Amy has sent mixed signals in her public postings and statements about the subject. When fans have asked in her live internet talk show Amy has said there is a possibility maybe of a Christmas or holiday update special. However, more recently, on April 13th when a fan wrote to Amy that she misses seeing the Roloffs on television, Amy replied "Thanks Laurie for the kind thoughts. you never know. not anytime soon I think." However when people confronted her that she and Matt were sending two different messages to fans - Amy denied that anyone was misleading the fans and said there is a possibility. On April 18, in response to fans excitedly telling her they are glad to hear "the news" that LPBW is returning, Amy wrote: "Wow! I so appreciate all of the positive feedback regarding the possibility of something LPBW back on TLC. Have no idea yet. it's media, network, and things to work out. We shall see."
On the same day, Matt "confirmed" the show was coming back, April 25th, within hours of Matt's posting, Amy wrote on her Facebook Fan Page: "Ok, you all are asking what is this about LPBW 'specials' - a lot of talk is going on and we shall see. Calendars, schedules, more discussions need to be had.... ".
So this is the Spiritswander take on the issue after consulting with our sources that are connected with the show on the latest:
People that have been lead to believe by Matt's hints that the *series* is returning, fans who are now posting excited comments such as "Season 7 will be the best ever" might be disappointed.
We are told a handful of specials are being talked about, probably about four or five specials. The idea is that they'll quickly film and produce them in lightning quick speed by LPBW standards to get them ready for air by the summer. It was stressed to us that it's a few specials and *not* the series returning for an entire season (typically a LPBW season was 40 episodes, split into two parts). It was also stated to us in terms that were not official or definite quite yet.
So there you have what we're hearing from our sources that are not Roloffs -- it is actually very similar to what Amy had to say about it yesterday 'talk going on about 'specials' and still in talks, although that is the idea in mind.
As for the way Matt presents things, a lot of the same elements remain relevant as we stated in our article about TLC cancelling Little People, Big World.
Matt's M.O. is that he suggests things to get people talking; hoping something comes of it. Also it's not in Matt's personality to *ever* give the perception that he is desperate -- he will always make it sound like he's the one being sought after. Always.
The specials are always something TLC had a right to when they cancelled the show. As readers of our site know -- despite the Roloff spin - TLC did cancel it when the Roloffs thought the show would continue for another 80 episodes (and Matt is on video in July 2010 stating the show would go on for at least 2 more years -- then TLC decided to end the series after only 20 episodes which they announced in August.
There were several factors that went into TLC's decision then -- here are some of them according to our sources.
*The ratings had declined. TLC needed to slash the travel budget. Compare how much travel you saw in 09 -- Europe -- compared to '2010? If any travel was shown it was done by "Roloff cam" -- we're told the Roloffs requested certain vacations for 2010 but were turned down because of the slashed travel budget.
*The Roloffs were more demanding -- both financially and in seeking control. Matt and Amy becoming producers made things more difficult. There were an increasing amount of "real" things that they needed to avoid or couldn't include.
*Matt has been referred to as being difficult to work with. There was a once prominent Little People, Big World producer whose departure, was said to be primarily as a result of a dispute with a certain Roloff. You might recall when Amy had Zach on her coffee chat live internet talk show, she asked him who was his favorite crew member? Zach leaned into Amy and whispered "Am I allowed to say?" before answering "Eric". Why do you suppose Zach would wonder if he was allowed to give his answer to a rather harmless sounding question? We were told that's the explanation and the reason for the dispute between said producer and said Roloff is cloaked in "I'd have to kill you if I told you" type TLC secrecy...
So despite the warm and fuzzy way that Matt always presents it, things didn't finish that well. And yes, we are well aware of Matt's public comments praising TLC. I think a lot of people are wise enough to understand that what is said publicly between the stars and a network don't usually represent what really was happening (Charlie Sheen notwithstanding!). You might recall in the summer of 2010, Matt posted a few times about how TLC executives were dropping in at Roloff Farm for coffee and biscuits just to tell the Roloffs how much they loved them...then in late August they dropped the bomb that they were ending the show immediately -- so you can decide for yourself if you believe Matt's version of the visit to be completely accurate.
However, most of these things come down to ratings and the fact is LPBW ratings were in decline. You can follow the links below for a detailed analysis of ratings for Season 5 Part A, Season 5 Part B and Season 6.
Season 5 Part A: http://spiritswander.blogspot.com/2010/01/television-ratings-for-finale-of-little.html
Season 5 Part B: http://spiritswander.blogspot.com/2010/06/little-people-big-world-finale-roloff.html
It was after the conclusion of Season 5B airing and the start of Season 6 that TLC decided the show would come to an end.
Season 6: http://spiritswander.blogspot.com/2010/12/television-ratings-for-finale-of-little.html
In the glory days as the lead in to the hit show Jon and Kate Plus 8, the Roloffs would often get ratings in the 2's. As the Jon and Kate show fell apart, you can see what happened to the LPBW ratings. In Season 5A -- which were the episodes that included the extensive travel episodes (The almost month long European vacation) LPBW ratings fell to where they were often 1.7's. You can see in Season 5B, they fell even more drastically. Premiere episodes were higher and then the season finale received 2.2 rating, however "normal" episodes (no dramatic cliff hangers, not hyped as the finale) were usually in the 1.1 - 1.3 range.
That's a considerable drop off from what LPBW received in the past. The highest rated LPBW episode ever was in Season 3 - Matt's DUII trial episodes -- they were ratings in the 3's. The highest rated episode in season 4 were the episodes about Mike Detjen's death -- those received ratings around 2.4.
However, as stated, when episodes were not centered around dramatic plots like a highly publicized trial or the death of a person seen on the show or the series finale (a 2.2 rating), the ratings had often fallen to between 1.1's and 1'3's. To put that in perspective, a current show on TLC such as "Extreme Couponing" most recent episode received a 2.265 rating. Obviously shows like that are much cheaper and easier to produce than LPBW. They don't have the salary demands of the Roloffs who are veterans of 6 seasons and over 200 episodes. They don't have the same power struggle issues.
Also, keep in mind that a lot of the people that worked on the show, have already moved on to other shows.
Finally, another factor people should be aware of when observing Matt's public comments about this is the realization that the Roloffs are basically at the mercy of TLC in a lot of ways. Matt can talk about all these other offers he has all he wants, but TLC has their exclusivity rights to the Roloffs -- which we are told actually runs longer than most people think -- which is common practice for networks and reality TV stars.
We just wanted to lay that out there to give people who might be wondering why wouldn't TLC want to bring LPBW back for an entire season, an idea of some of the real reasons because things aren't always as Matt presents them. If you rely strictly on Matt for your LPBW info, you would never know the fact that ratings for normal episodes had fallen quite a bit (even the *series finale* didn't bring ratings as high as finales in previous seasons), and of course Matt always presents things as though the Roloffs and TLC were one big happy family.
Our goal is simply to relay what we know accurately. We don't have an agenda. If we knew things that completely meshed with Matt's version then we would have no trouble reporting that. Basically there are only two outlets that are still actively posting news about the Roloffs. Matt's own Facebook Fan Page (and to a lesser degree Amy -- mainly when fans ask her about what Matt is saying) and our site. If we know certain things that contradict the way Matt presents them, we feel obligated to let people know so they don't have their chains yanked rather than just sitting on what we know.
So although we aren't hearing as of this minute that it is set in stone, there is a little bit for LPBW fans to be excited about. There are talks regarding a few specials and they could be hitting TV screens fairly soon. However, the entire series is not actually returning.
There's often a few kernels of truth in what Matt says, but people in the know always advise to be leery of Matt Roloff spin -- because things are quite often not exactly how Matt makes them sound.