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August 21, 2012

TLC's gamble: Sticking to reality

(Continued)

"History has an uber-arching theme. When you go there, you have a frame of reference for what you're going into. If you've already bought into 'Hatfields & McCoys,' you're likely to stick around for the next show. . . . That's how you build an audience," Everist said.

History's sister channel Lifetime — both are owned by A&E Television Networks — keeps adding formats to its repertoire, although it's not always clear whether there is an overarching theme. The network runs dramas such as "Army Wives," syndicated series such as "How I Met Your Mother" and reality shows such as "Project Runway."

Rob Sharenow, Lifetime's executive vice president of programming, describes the network's holdings as "a balanced portfolio of investments." He said the advantage of having a varied slate of genres is "in a down market for one genre, you have yourself covered with the other."

Sharenow explained that Lifetime is also hedging its investments by diversifying its formats. Producing a reality show such as "Dance Moms" comes at a fraction of the cost to produce a scripted series such as "Army Wives."

A scripted series can pencil in at $1 million per episode, whereas reality shows come at 10 to 20 percent of that cost, estimates Williamson, of Central Michigan. Cable networks are taking that expense into consideration as they wade into dramas and sitcoms.

Bravo, for its part, is starting out with two scripted shows due out next year. The network that built the "Housewives" franchise is sticking to its lifestyles-of-the-rich-and-naughty theme. One show, "22 Birthdays," follows wealthy families as they throw lavish parties, while "Blowing Sunshine" looks at the interactions of staff members and patients at a private rehab center.

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New England News
Obituaries
  • Alan J. Walker, 68

    Kingston, N.H. — Mr. Alan James Walker, 68, passed away peacefully at his home on July 8, 2014, after a long, brave battle with cancer.

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    19 hours
  • James Reese

    Raymond, NH — James Edwin Reese, 74, passed away on Wednesday, July 16, 2014, surrounded by his family and friends at his home in Raymond, N.H. He was the son of John and Ruth Reese, born on Oct. 29, 1939 in Edensburg, Pa. James graduated from Central Cambria High School in Pennsylvania before proudly serving in the U.S. Army as a food inspector. His military service was followed by 31 years with the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a meat inspector. Mr. Reese was an avid outdoorsman and spent much of his time fishing, camping and hiking in the White Mountains. He became involved in the Boy Scouts and enjoyed passing on his vast knowledge of the wilderness to others. Throughout his retirement years he enjoyed woodworking, raising rabbits and working in his garden.

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    19 hours 1 Photo
  • Velma J. Reid

    South Hampton, NH — Velma J. Reid, 80, died peacefully on July 17, 2014 at Exeter Hospital, surrounded by family. She was born in Haverhill, Mass. on June 8, 1934, the daughter of the late George C.W. and Alta I. (Kimball) Haynes. A graduate of Haverhill High School, Velma worked at Western Electric until she had children. For years, she was a devoted “stay-at-home” mom who raised her three children in a loving, nurturing environment. She later worked various manufacturing jobs until her retirement. After retiring, she volunteered her time at various organizations and was very involved at the East Kingston Community United Methodist Church as a member of the women’s guild, assisting with the holiday fair, and helping out wherever she could. She had a passion for animals, and would donate money, food, and blankets to the NH SPCA. She loved to sew and made a personalized quilt for every member of her family. She was also a member of the “Ugly Quilts” group, which made blankets and sleeping bags for the homeless using recycled fabric. She is survived by her husband, Clyde Reid of South Hampton, N.H.; daughter, Pam Eaton of Danville, N.H.; son and daughter-in-law, Douglas and Kim Reid of Raymond, N.H.; daughter, Shirley Reid of South Hampton, N.H.; two sisters, Gwen Stuart of Haverhill, and Norma Taplin of Dracut; four grandchildren, Cheryl and Marc Welch, and Kristen and Joshua Reid, and several nieces and nephews.

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    19 hours 1 Photo
  • Carleen A. Knowlton, 80

    Danville, NH — Carleen A. (Rhoadhouse) Knowlton, 80, of Danville and formerly of Hampstead, died on July 7, 2014, at her home.

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    7 days 1 Photo
  • Miriam O. (Graham) Graham, 84

    Kingston, NH — Miriam O. (Graham) Graham, 84, a resident of Kingston since 2001, and former longtime resident of Grafton, Mass., died peacefully, surrounded by her family, on July 11, 2014, following a long illness.

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    7 days 1 Photo

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