Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Is TLC bringing back Little People, Big World?

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.


David said...

Thanks Spirits. I thought so.

Anne said...

Well, some shows are better than none. It's probably better for the family not to do a whole season anyway.

Anne said...

Oh and I don't think Matt tries to lie. It's like he said. He's a glass half full type of guy. Matt likes to be optimistic. Like Amy said, that's Matt. I don't think he means harm by it.

There is always conflict producing anything. Look at the Beatles!

Justin said...

I wonder what happened in the last week. Amy said she didn't think they would be back on tv soon.

Christine said...

I think TLC needs some creative ideas. Stop recycling the same shows and the same ideas.

Sandy said...

That's the way it sounded from Matt when he answered the question on his blog last friday, He said it would not be like it was before. I don't think Matt lied

Mike P. said...

"Extreme Couponing" gets bigger ratings than the Roloffs? Almost fell out of my chair laughing at that one.

I'm still laughing as a I type.

Lark said...

It's a sinking ship. Honestly, what else does MR have to cling to other than the show? What else would he do? Within a year or two business will die down because no one cares what he's doing on a farm that's no longer on TV. The kids will be gone. The charity will dry up (probably in the next year or two).

Honestly, how many people still keep up with him considering they were on TV a short time ago? Not very many, I'd bet. A few devoted fans for him and people on this site (I mean no offense to you guys, I'm here after all). The 'little person' schtick has gotten old as there are other shows that feature that. He can't continue to pimp JR out much longer, since it's becoming apparent (more every day) how much a jerk he is, and the model thing won't happen (not to be hateful, but he's not all that compared to anyone else outside that show).

It'd really be in his entire family's best interest to just wrap it up and move on. "Nothin' else to see here, folks!"

I've read your blog for a while now, Spirits. Great job. Thanks for all the insights.

Anonymous said...

They have Molly and Jeremy's expensive college tuitions to pay. Matt is no dummy. Just like Jacob-sly as a fox.
And I don't believe it was Jac's grades at all. And what school doesn't have a minimum grade requirement. Remember, Zach was close to flunking out his Sr year. Both boys went to Sylan tutoring. How high do you think the requirements are? I think Jacob did something bad, against the school code...something the school has zero tolerance on

nyc said...

@Mike P--that's because people are into saving money and it's interesting, unlike the Roloffs. :)

Spiritswander said...

Hi Mike P,

Yes, "Extreme Couponing" does usually score higher ratings than LPBW received. The week before last, it was 1.9. Before that, it was in the 2's again.

That's not to suggest that LPBW was the worst rated show on TLC by any stretch of the imagination. It wasn't.

Other TLC staple shows, such as "Say Yes To The Dress" just got a 1.1 rating, too. The "Little Couple" ratings were often in the 1.1 or 1.2 range. Police Women of Broward County was a 1.0 rating last week. The episode of Kate Plus Eight on April 11th was 1.214. That is huge drop. It shows how the landscape is changing.

However, other shows like TLC's Hoarding show, 1.4 last week. Cake Boss often is in the 2's. The "Next Great Baker" was in the mid 2's. Most episodes of Sarah Palin's show on TLC were in the 4's and 5's. Sister Wives has been in the 3's or high 2's. As mentioned, Extreme Couponing is in the 2's. By the way, it's on a different network -- USA -- but since Zach will appear in an upcoming episode, I'll mention that WWE Tough Enough ratings last night were 2.452 million viewers.

The point I was trying to illustrate was that at one time Jon and Kate Plus 8 ruled the TLC roost and as the lead-in show, LPBW and the Roloffs were number two.

However, by the end, the dynamics had changed. Yet because of their history, you can probably imagine that the Roloffs have a higher salary than most of these other shows that are receiving as good or better ratings. They also aren't as expensive to produce even with the trade-outs, and as mentioned, they don't have some of the other hassles associated with LPBW.

That gives you an idea of why some LPBW specials might appeal to TLC, but why they wouldn't exactly be desperate to bring the entire series back. It's not ratings gold like it once was.

Cassie said...

I'm glad there will be some new shows!

Matt needs to be tough or big corporations will walk right over you!

Diane J said...

TLC should wash their hands of the Roloffs.

The Roloffs have been ruined by fame, they just don't realize it yet.

Vic Rattlehead said...

Does anyone remember the main character in the old movie Sunset Boulevard.

Matt really reminds me of her in the way he desperately clings to his fading fame yet he can't acknowledge that the world has moved on and he's no longer the "big star" he thought he was so now he sits in that mansion which is little more than a big edifice to his own ego desperately trying to convince people that he's still relevant in some way shape or form.


Ray said...

TLC needs to ditch all the old shows to be respected again.

Brenda said...

I'm surprised they are doing any more shows. I guess TLC thinks they can get better ratings with a special?

How are they going to film a reality show with not much filming. It will be more contrived than before!

I heard Amy in an interview with Nina Frye say by the end it didn't seem like they were doing it for the original reason, lp awareness.

Katie said...

What is there to have a special about? I don't get it.

Jacob failing? The lawsuit against the county? Matt's dirt project? Jeremy playing with Mueller? Cat throwing?

Besides Jacob being kicked out of school, has a single thing changed?

Lynn C said...

Vic, did you even read what Spirits wrote?

It sounds like TLC is interested in doing some specials.

Justin said...

I always figured when I saw that the Roloffs were listed as producers that it was something that would cause trouble.

Subjects of a so-called reality show can't have say in how they're portrayed. It should be obvious.

Jemma said...

Great to know. Thanks Spiritswander.

Terry said...

Matt is sly and knows what he has to do. It doesn't bother me if Matt rubs people the wrong way in business. That's why he is successful.

Carrie said...

Amy is more honest than Matt.

Jocelynn said...

Spirits, thanks for all you do. It's nice to know what people other than Matt has to say about events.

Grace said...

Why didn't Ron and Peggy raise Matt to have any morals and honesty? Why does Matt need to twist everything instead of being a man of his word without playing games?

He does it with the show. He does with Jacob's schooling.

I don't think it's being a "glass is half full" person. He can be honest, THEN make the best of the situation.

Sheila said...

I wondered why Eric the producer left the show. He's from the town I live in. Paducah, KT!

Did Matt not like him because Zach liked him? Maybe Matt thought Zach was treating Eric as a respected father figure instead of him?

Expressed said...

I guess this means Rap and I will have a summer job again! Well, a job that pays...nothing!

The good thing about summer episodes means there should be lots of shirtless Jeremy :)

I'm wondering what the episodes will be like. Honestly they had gotten boring and very fake.

I hope the negotiations is over to have someone except for best friend Chris to produce. I know the Roloffs love him, but I think he's why it's so fake. Story line cheat sheets are probably his idea?

I want to see the real Roloffs without Chris' version. It's like two friends. When they're in front of a stranger they put on an act. Then they walk out and are really themselves. I think that's the way they were when Chris shuts the camera down.

BeckyM said...


Read the lower half of the article. The TLC lineup of shows is rather heavy right now. Wonder where they will fit in a Roloff special?

JMO but I don't think the ratings are there.

Rap541 said...

(fist bumps Expressed) Yo homey!

Dude, yeah, we need to start getting paid! Spirit! Expressed and I demand payment! I prefer to be paid in blue only m&m's!

Chantal said...

Thank you Spiritswander.

In my opinion the Roloffs should stop being fame chasers and spin masters and get back to being a normal family by focusing on their struggling kids whether they publicly admit it for not.

Erica said...

The Roloffs have got the fame bug and won't let it go. They were better when they weren't wrapped up in being famous.

samanthastarns said...

Jeremy also has posted on his twitter account that LPBW is coming back, but to "please stop asking" when they'll be filiming and when the show will be airing.

Expressed said...

Samantha, just to let you know, that Jeremy twitter account is a fake. Amy said in a coffee chat that none of the kids have twitter accounts for fans.

The Facebook Fan Page that the fake Jeremy twitter links, is Jeremy's real Facebook fan page but Jeremy barely ever uses it.

Jared said...

Matt said his birthday party is going to be on tv. He said don't go if you don't want to be seen on tv partying with Matt Roloff.

Does that mean he thinks the TLC cameras will be filming?

Eaton said...

Matt is taking in millions of dollars on this dirt "project" he keeps talking about. He is getting paid $3-$5 per cubic yard to allow them (intel) the privilege to dump their dirt on his land. If what he said is true and they are digging a million yards out, then do the math. Call the Farmington dirt dump in Hillsboro to verify that the going rate is $5. I had a reliable source tell me Matt is making a killing on this one deal.

Judy B said...

Eaton, I agree. Matt is brilliant. Nobody can say Matt's not smart.

David said...

Eaton, Matt is probably making good money on this. Good for him.

The Roloffs need it because I don't get the impression that they have scaled back their luxurious lifestyle at all since they lost the show.

If we are being frank and that is what this site is about as opposed to Matt's FB where the talk is "Congratulations, way to go guys, Jake got kicked out of school! Great news!", the Roloffs were expecting to be paid for 80 episodes and instead got 20 and whatever they get out of these speculated "specials".

That's a lot of lost income. Matt and Amy are also supporting 6 people (almost 7 if you add in Mueller) since I would bet a lot of money that Jeremy and Zach don't contribute anything to the household financially or even their own expenses.

On the dirt deal, Matt mentioned a partner or partners. He's not getting all the profits. You have the initial cost of the land, then the property taxes on it. The cost of the labor too. Then what happens to it after? Is a 'pumpkin mountain' really viable long term?

AJ said...

The real Jeremy Roloff doesn't have a twitter account, your following a fake

Rap541 said...

I'm just throwing this out there.

If Matt's a pig in slops with this dirt deal - and who knows, since Matt will never say or if he does, he'll just deny or ignore what he said previously the way he has over several questions surrounding the show (please see his dancing over how *little* the show brings in and the whole "the 70k pool is a tradeout so therefore although I own it now and it improves my property, its not technically wages") then why would he want to do morre tv shows with TLC?

Amy has reported that Jake and Molly never were into doing the show. Jake was kicked out of school recently. The twins are failing to launch, in part because of the show, I have no doubt.

If its not about the money, a significant portion of the family hates the idea, and Matt's made it pretty clear that he doesn't like criticism.....

Why even consider doing the show?

Brandon said...

Great point Rap...

Chris Linton said...

Silly silly Rappy.

Don't you know that Roloffs do it all for the fans? He asked the fans and they are begging him. Matt is graciously willing to be paid, negotiating for a vacation on top, all out of the kindness of his heart to please the fans. And for LP awareness tho Amy kinda admitted the show didn't seem to be about that near the end...

Silly Rap.It's not about the Roloffs wanting money, stuff and attention. It's the Roloffs form of charity work. They allow themselves to get paid and to receive attention to make more money on their other fan support projects all for the fans.

You're a hater for saying Jake failed out of school. How dare you not congratulate Jake, Matt and Amy for that accomplishment!

Anita said...

Rap, Matt has said he welcomes criticism.

Rap541 said...

Anita - there's a great big disconnect between what Matt says, and how Matt acts.

For someone who welcomes criticism, he certainly never addresses any criticism except to name call (and he sometimes falls back on Amy's favored tactic of "Don't judge us! Do you know me???) and he very very clearly does not like hearing that his parenting is suspect.

Here's a little point of criticism. Good parents who mouth to the cameras how education is important don't have three of the four kids fail in school and have NO IDEA why. The whole disconnect between Matt and Amy and Zach barely scraping by to graduate... really? That's good parenting? Matt was living at home with the wife and there's his level of concern. He did nothing. Jeremy doesn't have the grades to go anywhere but community college (and please don't gripe - jeremy himself said he was going to community college because he was lazy)and Matt didn't know?

Matt's facebooking how he's *handholding* his adult sons thru the notion of going to college. And we're supposed to be all "way to go matt! You're awesome for totally infantizing your adult sons!"

Matt's youngest gets kicked out of school for apparently grades... and Matt let this laziness and possible student conflict run ALL YEAR and *did nothing* until the school finally said enough is enough.... and Matt's crowing how he's a great parent... and he and Amy both *are taking great care to remove any remarks on their facebooks that are in any way critical of them*.

Anita - people who welcome criticism *address* criticism, they don't *censor* it.

I don't understand how two parents spending money on private school let a grade situation escalate to the point of expulsion *if* they were making a geniune effort to actually parent. As much as I don't think much of Faith Bible - they sound like they do send grade reports and demand a certain amount of parental involvement... and we're supposed to praise the Roloffs for how they handled this?

And yet the head in the sand "I'm so awesome at supporting education, SHUT UP IF YOU AREN'T PRAISING ME" attitude is Matt welcoming criticism?

If he's unable to address criticism, and at times removing criticism, then he is NOT welcoming criticism. He can *say* he welcomes criticism all he wants... but this wouldn't be the first time what Matt says and what Matt does don't match.

Anonymous said...

I find it hard to believe matt is making 5 million on a dirt project

Justin said...

I agree Anon. If Intel was paying that much money, they would have found a solution themselves.

The numbers Eaton posted sound ridiculous. But Eaton did qualify it with "if what Matt said is true"...and only suckers don't know that it usually isn't true if Matt is saying it.

BeckyM said...

@ Rap re: Matts ....the whole "the 70k pool is a tradeout so therefore although I own it now and it improves my property, its not technically wages"....

The IRS considers this wages. And taxes it. Whatever Matt wants to *think* I'm sure his accountant lets him know that this is a taxable income gift.

When the Deadliest Catch Captains walked out of the Discovery deal it surfaced how Discovery (one of the TLC family affiliations) did not *pay* them a salary but rather gives them the money to outfit their boats (which apparently is quite expensive). That is also taxable.

It's just one of the reasons why I don't think Matt is as rich as he lets on that he is. That money has dribbled away in the form of gifts and trips, and that is why he continues the con and fame-ho act... it's about money.

Well maybe Matt's huge ego too.

Anon6 said...

Some of the people here drank the Matt Roloff Kool-aid. get it. Matt is liar.

Anonymous said...

The Roloffs gave TV a refreshing break from all the garbage that is on every other channel.They are just normal,everyday God fearing, God loving people who are trying their best to bring up their kids in this difficult time and world! If they got paid well for being willing to have cameras in their home 24/7 while being filmed well more power to them! TLC bring the Roloffs back!!!!!

Tracey said...

It disappoints me that Molly is getting caught up in that garbage.

Molly is better than to think she needs to be a servant for her husband. I listened to some of what that pastor says. I couldn't believe it.

Women need to ask their husband Biblical questions because it is the husband's job to be the spiritual leader and provider in the family.

Didn't we advance past that?
Are they Christian or Muslim?