Extreme Parenting on TV? ‘Time’ Breastfeeding Cover Inspires New Reality Show
Breastfeeding is great and all, but is a reality TV show about it going a little too far?
-Lylah M. Alphonse, Yahoo! Shine
Inspired by the controversial “Are You Mom Enough?” Time magazine cover featuring an attractive young woman breastfeeding her nearly 4-year-old son, the executive producer of Dance Moms says that he’s developing a new TV show about extreme parenting.
“That [Time magazine] cover proves what I’ve been saying for the last year — America has become a country of extremes,” Jeff Collins, president of Collins Avenue Productions, told Yahoo! Shine. “I think it’s so fascinating that some Americans find the image of woman breastfeeding to be provocative, shocking, even sexual when, in fact, it’s the most natural thing in the world.
Contrary to the current buzz, the show won’t focus exclusively on extended breast feeding, he says. “Breastfeeding beyond infancy is just one of the topics we plan to cover,” he explains. “We’ve discovered people are raising kids in all kinds of un-traditional ways these days and some people find their methods to be extreme.”
“When you watch any of my shows you can see a common thread — I’m interested in peeling back the curtain to look at choices other people make that will have a huge impact on their children or their lives,” he continued. “I’m fascinated by the way other people raise their children. I grew up in a very conservative small town and everyone kind of raised their kids with the exact same values so it’s interesting to me to see so many people breaking the mold of tradition.”
Collins’ shows tend to garner plenty of attention because they offer a voyeuristic view into other people’s lives. The National Geographic Channel’s American Colony: Meet the Hutterites, takes a look at a small religious Anabaptist community in rural Montana; it has been condemned by Anabaptist leaders for portraying Hutterites in a “negative and inaccurate way,” though one of the Hutterites who appears on the show told Religion News Service that they do not feel exploited (“The notion that we were taken advantage of, as if we were innocent children, is nonsense,” he said). Collins notes that Colony members “chose the storylines they would allow us to follow, and there were storylines that they asked us not to follow, that they didn’t feel were appropriate.” He told Yahoo! Shine: “That show is controversial too, and some people are upset by it because it peels back the curtain.”
Another show, Lifetime’s Dance Moms, is constantly in the limelight for what seem to be the wrong reasons. Earlier this year, dance coach Abby Lee Miller came under fire for making her 8- to -12-year-old dancers don nude bras, pink feathered fans, and little else while performing a sexy burlesque routine. (It’s “all about crotch and boobs!” she instructed the still flat-chested little girls in front of the cameras.)
But Collins says that his program about extreme parenting would probably take a different tone
“There is only one Dance Moms. You have to start fresh each time and find the core of what is true, what’s real, to the person on screen,” he says. “If you can do that it will resonate with the audience.”
No word yet on where the show would air — “Right now we’re in negotiation with several networks,” Collins says — but it will probably launch sometime this fall. And expect a few familiar faces: Collins confirms that at least one of the women from that Time magazine article about extreme parenting is involved with the show.
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