Books & Review | Cole Garner Hill
Updated: Sep 20, 2012 01:59 PM EDT

honey boo boo

How does the Honey Boo Boo family make lemonade? With 5 lbs. of sugar, of course. (Photo : TLC)

Someone up there really does love you. "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo Child" is reportedly now in talks for a second season.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, seven-year-old pageant princess Alana Thompson and her family are currently in negotiations with the network and producers to film a second season of the controversial show, which was spun off from TLC's popular series "Toddlers & Tiaras" after Thompson's interview clips earned more than 5 million viewers on YouTube. A source told the magazine the cast is seeking $10,000 per episode, more than double the $4,000 they made an episode for the hugely-successful first season.

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"Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" follows pint-sized beauty queen Alana and her crazy "redneck" family living in McIntyre, Georgia. There's "Mama" June, chalk-mining dad "Sugar Bear," and sisters 12-year-old Lauryn "Pumpkin," 15-year-old Jessica "Chubbs," and 17-year-old Anna "Chickadee."

Since debuting in August, the TV show has become a ratings sensation for the network, with more than 2.1 million viewers tuning into its Sept. 13 episode. The show even topped all individual cable and network broadcasts of the Republican National Convention on Aug. 19 with a 1.3 rating with adults 18-49.

A source says the cast -- including Alana's 17-year-old sister, who recently gave birth to her first child -- is now asking for a $10,000-an-episode payday, however, another insider suggests the family will most likely land closer to an $8,000-an-episode salary after negotiations with the network conclude. The show's six-episode first season ends with a one-hour season finale Sept. 26.

TLC has declined to comment yet on a possible second season or salaries. Although, Discovery Communications president Eileen O'Neill told The Hollywood Reporter that a second season of the series was very likely, but no final decision has been made.

TLC has been rumored to pay big salaries to the casts of their biggest shows. Although networks typically do not disclose the deals made with individual families, details about TLC's reality stars' salaries have surfaced.

Jon and Kate Gosselin of TLC's "Jon & Kate Plus 8," which first aired in 2007, earned $22,500 per episode, Jon told Larry King during an interview with CNN in 2009.

The Duggars of "18 Kids and Counting" are believed to have raked in even more, and they're far more terrifying. Reality families usually make a salary 10 percent of a show's per-episode budget, reality producer Terence Michael told E! News. Michael estimates TLC budgeted about $250,000 to $400,000 per episode, which would mean the Duggars earned between $25,000 and $40,000 for four or five days' work.

Keeping those figures in mind, if the Honey Boo Boo family really is asking for $10,000 an episode, TLC is still making out like bandit. Certainly begs the question: To just what extent is the network taking advantage of this family?

It's no secret "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" has polarized viewers.

While some viewers say "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" shows a loving family that doesn't let outside opinions bother them, some have criticized TLC for exploiting and mocking small-town people and perpetuating offensive stereotypes of life in the South.

The show has portrayed the area where the family lives unfairly, choosing to fixate on shots of junk cars, garbage dumps and stray animals, Wilkinson County Chamber of Commerce president Jonathan Jackson said in a statement, adding that he'd like to see more of the region's positive attributes on the air.

"You can't very well ask and expect a television network to possess tact and taste - unless it makes them a dollar," he said.

The show has come under attack from Georgia locals lately, especially.

Among the more than two dozen locals approached by the AP recently, the most common reaction to the series was that, for better or worse, it has "put McIntyre on the map." Many said they watch and enjoy the show, though most didn't necessarily think it represents the way most people in the area live.

"I don't mind it, it's just that it doesn't give a good image for the county since it is a small county, and it's a really family-oriented county, and we are basically, you know, church goers down here, and a lot of the things they do ... we don't agree with it," said Carolyn Snead, a McIntyre resident who works as a tax preparer.

An Atlanta healthcare group, Children's Healthcare, strongly disagrees with that assessment. In a recent statement, it said the show's portrayal of Georgian life was more accurate than most would like to admit.

"Locals are cringing with concern that the nation might view this family as an accurate portrayal of our state," Children's Healthcare writes in an opinion piece to be published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Saturday Sept. 22. "However, based on the children and families we see at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, the truth is that Honey Boo Boo and her family's health habits may be more of the norm in Georgia than everyone would like to believe."

Last week's episode showed Alana enjoying a dinner of "sketti," a concoction involving butter, ketchup and pasta. In previous episodes of the TLC show, family members graze on cheese-puffs, make lemonade with five pounds of sugar, load up on "meat with a side of meat" at a barbecue restaurant and visit the convenience store next door for a junk-food run. In a couple of episodes family members weigh themselves. Matriarch June Shannon tips the scales at 300+ pounds.

In the opinion piece running in Saturday's newspaper, Children's Healthcare notes that while the reality-show stars of "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" seem over-the-top, their diets (and corresponding health concerns) aren't all that unique.

"With nearly 40 percent of Georgia families having an increased risk of health effects stemming from childhood obesity (regardless of socio-economic status)," Children's Healthcare writes, "Honey Boo Boo and her family are not as different as everyone wants to believe."

How Honey Boo Boo makes lemonade:

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