Incite by Design

Caustic visions and shared thoughts on design, marketing, creativity, philanthropy, pop culture and business philosophy by Toronto design firm, Ricksticks Inc.


Tender Love and Care

New Official Logo

Former logo for TLC, used from 1992-2006, with the Life Unscripted tag added in 1999

The Learning Channel, TLC, which carries a variety of informational and reality-based programming, has been owned by Discovery Communications since 1991, the same company that operates the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet, as well as other learning-themed networks. Some have said that the movement towards the misnomer of “Tender Love and Care” has set it up as more and more of a female-oriented network, as most shows aimed at male audiences (such as Junkyard Wars) are increasingly rare, and tend to come on after daytime hours.

The network has launched a new look and promotional campaign, dropping the Life Unscripted tag as of March 27, 2006 and going with the new theme “live and learn”, trying to turn around the network’s reliance on decorating shows and reality TV. Unfortunately, as they went through this process, they inadvertently stubbed themselves in the toe. The direction of the rebrand is anything but more educational in nature. They took a tried and true logo, and applied a shiny button veneer which only adds to the “pop culture” claims, not necessarily improving credibility. Although, yes, it is perhaps more scientific/technological in style, it will have to be backed up with new programming.

Current critics, especially academics and the channel’s original audience, conclude that TLC no longer has much of anything to do with learning, and is yet another sign of “the dumbing down of [American] television” and both a cause and symptom of “the dumbing down of America”. Many of whom have now categorized TLC programming as “infotainment”, have stopped watching the channel altogether, and moved to PBS, National Geographic Channel, or to Discovery-owned digital networks.