2:57pm PT by Michael O'Connell
TLC's 'Breaking Amish' to Address Fraud Accusations in Series
TLC has another controversy on its hands, and it has nothing to do with Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.
The cable network, which specializes in unscripted fare, is coming under fire with accusations that its newest series, Breaking Amish, is a fake.
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Billed as a fly-on-the-wall look at five Amish and Mennonite people taking a permanent rumspringa in New York City, multiple reports accuse the series of casting individuals who have been out of the their isolated communities for years. Photos culled from Facebook and MySpace pages purport that cast members have actually married, had children and divorced since entering mainstream society.
TLC has responded by suggesting critics watch the series, already earning robust ratings after just two episodes.
"There is a lot of information floating around about the group featured on Breaking Amish," reads a network statement. "Much of it is not true, but some of it is -- and is addressed in upcoming episodes.”
Breaking Amish is only two episodes into its 10-episode run. The first two episodes, which have aired Sept. 9 and Sept. 16, have averaged just shy of 3 million viewers. That makes it the most-watched series premiere in three years -- a much stronger performer than fellow freshman Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. (In the adults 18-49 demo, Honey Boo Boo still has an advantage, regularly posting a 1.3 rating over Breaking Amish's 1.1.)
Produced by Hot Snakes Media, Breaking Amish is hardly the first TLC series to be scandalized of late. 2011's All-American Muslim lost advertisers and found itself at the center of a media frenzy, despite pulling comparatively anemic numbers.