- TLC, also known as The Learning Channel, started as a nonprofit educational station in 1972.
- In the 1990s, TLC shifted towards reality TV shows and moved away from educational programming.
- TLC is known for popular health shows like Dr. Pimple Popper and My 600 Pound Life.
- Family-oriented shows like Little People, Big World and OutDaughtered are also a part of TLC’s programming.
- TLC is a hub for lifestyle TV enthusiasts with shows like 90 Day FiancÃ© and Sister Wives.
Are you a Spectrum cable subscriber eager to watch some TLC shows? Whether you want to keep up with shows that hooked you on Discovery+ or found a new favorite on Max ahead of an upcoming season, it helps to know how to find TLC on your Spectrum guide. However, there’s no one fixed answer for all Spectrum subscribers nationwide. The channel number will vary depending on where you’re based in the United States. Let’s review some of the biggest cities on Spectrum’s coverage map and provide channel numbers for each.
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TLC Channel Guide
|City and State||Channel Number on Spectrum|
|El Paso, TX||57|
|Fort Worth, TX||48|
|Los Angeles, CA||48|
|New York, NY||52|
|San Antonio, TX||49|
|San Diego, CA||55|
|St. Paul, MN||41|
|St. Louis, MO||55|
History of TLC
TLC — also known as The Learning Channel — first began in 1972 under a very different name. At the start, it was a nonprofit station called ACSN: the Appalachian Community Service Network. The channel focused on educational programming. It was intended for broadcast in public schools and other learning institutions in the eastern and northeastern areas of the United States. It operated in partnership with NASA, as well as the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. The goal was to bring informative, fact-based programs to the people.
Then, in 1980, the Appalachian Community Service Network was incorporated. With this move away from the nonprofit sphere, the ACSN transformed into The Learning Channel. It mainly kept its focus on programs about science, nature, and history. However, it started incorporating fewer educational shows as the decade went on. By the tail end of the 1980s, TLC was better described as an informational network rather than an educational one. This might not sound like a major distinction, but it made a huge difference in the future of the network.
In the 1990s, TLC got even further away from its roots with the addition of shows like Trading Spaces and A Wedding Story. Over the next several years, TLC fully embraced a new reputation as a reality TV network. This reputation only grew stronger as the ‘90s gave way to the 2000s. From Jon & Kate Plus 8 to Cake Boss, 19 Kids and Counting to Little People, Big World, TLC leaned into reality shows over educational programs. This still stands today, with franchises like 90 Day Fiancé and other relationship and lifestyle shows dominating the airwaves.
TLC Sister Stations
|Turner Classic Movies|
|American Heroes Channel|
TLC played a significant role in the rise and popularity of reality television. Starting out as an educational network and transforming into a reality hub throughout the 1980s and ‘90s, TLC moved from a nonprofit network to a commercial titan in record time. Over the years, TLC has become a must-watch destination for health, reality, and family programming. Let’s break down each of these programming types below, paying special attention to the particular shows currently airing on TLC today.
TLC features a variety of popular health-related shows on the air today. Dr. Pimple Popper follows dermatologist Dr. Sandra Lee as she treats patients with unusual skin conditions. It offers viewers both medical insights and satisfyingly gross moments. My 600 Pound Life documents the journeys of individuals struggling with severe obesity as they seek life-changing weight loss surgery. These types of TLC shows combine medical drama with personal stories, drawing viewers into the challenges and triumphs of real-life patients.
TLC has plenty of family-oriented programming, too. Little People, Big World follows the Roloff family, which includes both little and average-height members. The show observes how they navigate life’s challenges and joys while running a pumpkin farm. OutDaughtered chronicles the life of the Busby family as they raise the only all-female set of quintuplets in the United States. These heartwarming series offer glimpses into the everyday lives of unique families. They emphasize the importance of love, unity, and resilience in the most unlikely of circumstances.
TLC is also a hub for lifestyle TV enthusiasts. The 90 Day Fiancé franchise — which grows larger and larger by the month, it seems — delves into the complexities of international relationships, following couples navigating the K-1 visa process and dealing with cultural clashes and family dynamics. Sister Wives and other nontraditional marriage shows like Seeking Brother Husband explore the lives and hardships of polygamous couples. These shows provide a mix of drama, romance, and cultural exploration, making them addictive for reality TV fans.
Over the years, TLC programming has continually put a focus on shows about religious identity. From 19 Kids and Counting to Return to Amish to Welcome to Plathville, these shows have explored the ins and outs of unconventional religions and the burden these spiritualities have on its followers. Often, these types of shows explore non-traditional interpretations of scripture. As seen on Welcome to Plathville and others, these shows put a particular emphasis on how the rules and regulations impact children and young adults.