Books & Review
Updated: Sep 24, 2012 04:26 PM EDT

honey boo boo

What's the secret ingredient in Honey Boo Boo's famous Sketti? Butter. Lots, and lots of butter.
(Photo : Reuters)

Life isn't all 'sketti and lemonade for the "Honey Boo Boo Child" family. In a recent shocking interview it was revealed that after "Mama" June Shannon gave birth to eldest daughter, Anna "Chickadee," she tried to give her away to relatives. And when her relatives refused, she abandoned the child, and ran off with her then-boyfriend. 

"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."

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Sources say June was a dead-beat mom back then, and that Anna begged other family members to adopt her, according to the National Enquirer. Janice Shannon, who was married to June's late brother Jimmy, told NE that June approached her while she was pregnant with Anna and asked if she would take the baby after she was born.

Although they were willing, Janice says that the adoption never materialized because June refused to relinquish her parental rights. During her childhood, Anna was shuffled back-and-forth between June's house and the home of her grandmother, Sandra Hale.

The instability finally ended when Anna turned seven. At that time, June reportedly dumped Anna at Sandra's for good so she could move into a trailer with her boyfriend. Not long after that, child welfare officials stepped in and awarded sole-custody to Sandra after determining that Anna was unsafe in June's home.

Now 18-years-old, Anna eventually dropped out of high school and gave birth to a baby girl, Kaitlyn, in July.

"Anna lived with Sandra until early this year, when June bribed her with $500 a month to move back in with the family and be on the TV show," said a source. "They thought that Anna's illegitimate teenage pregnancy would make for good story lines for the show."

Thirty-three-year-old June has four daughters with four different men, at least three of them with prison records, according to NE.

June has refused to let Anna's father, ex-con David Dunn, or her 15-year-old daughter Jessica's dad, ex-con Michael Anthony Ford, see their children. She's also blocked Caleb Clark, who claims to be the father of Anna's baby, from obtaining a DNA test to establish his paternity.

Anna and Clark reportedly dated for two years, but he's been denied access to the infant girl since the day after she was born, according to NE.

In an exclusive interview with NE, Clark said Anna told him she wanted to be legally adopted by her grandmother. "Anna was in her grandmother's custody, but she was still desperate to get away from June officially," said Clark. "June was a lousy mother to Anna."

Clark says he just wants to get baby Kaitlyn "out of that house and away from that family."

The alleged father of Anna's child also contends that Anna and the rest of the "Here Comes honey Boo Boo Child" family are just faking it for the show, saying Anna's body language gives away her true feelings about her neglectful mother.

"You can see it - Anna still resents June and stands apart from the rest of the family," says Clark. "When the cameras are turned off, Anna doesn't have much to do with any of them."

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 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 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?

The TV series has become such a sensation for the network Honey Boo Boo now even has her own bodyguard. Sources say Alana and her new bodyguard have been spotted all over town lately, from trips to Wal-Mart, to fancy galas at the Rite-Aid. Not much of a surprise considering the family's love for saving a dollar, which, if memory serves, make Alana do something ... 

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.

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