Books & Review | Cole Garner Hill
Updated: Oct 01, 2012 04:39 PM EDT

honey boo boo

Some viewers think Honey Boo Boo's TV show exploits and mocks small-town people, and perpetuates offensive stereotypes of life in the South. We, however, think it's hilarious. (Photo : Reuters)

For better or for worse, you'd better "redneckognize." Looks like we'll be seeing a lot more of the breakout reality show "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo Child." TLC announced today the network has tripled the family's salaries for a new season.

After reportedly only earning between $5,000 and $7,000 per episode for their TLC series, the Honey Boo Boo Child family will now reportedly pull in between $15,000 and $20,000 an episode.

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The network also reportedly offered to find the family a new home (perhaps one that isn't a drifter's sprint from a passing train?), but "Mama" June reportedly turned the network down because of her love of decorating the house for the holidays, and her connection the community in McIntyre, Georgia.

"'Here Comes Honey Boo Boo' has become a pop culture phenomenon," said Amy Winter, general manager of TLC, in a statement. "What you see is what you get and we are excited to share even more of Alana and her family's unbridled hilarity, sincerity and love with our viewers."

June has also reportedly avoided signing with an agent because she's reportedly afraid it will require her to spend time away from the Boo Boo clan.

Following the reality network's decision to order additional episodes of "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo Child," the ratings for the show's Sept. 26 mid-season finale were the highest yet. A record 2.8 million people tuned in to watch Alana, the former "Toddlers & Tiaras" star, and her family on the reality show's one-hour episode, according to TV by the Numbers.

Since premiering in early August, the reality series which portrays the everyday life of Honey Boo Boo Child, real name Alana, and her crazy "redneck" family, has become a runaway success averaging 2.3 million viewers per episode. Besides Alana, the family includes "Mama" June, chalk-mining, forever half-asleep dad "Sugar Bear," and sisters 12-year-old Lauryn "Pumpkin," 15-year-old Jessica "Chubbs," and 17-year-old Anna "Chickadee."

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?

With TLC's order of "HOLLAday" editions of the TV show, we'll likely only have to wait until Halloween - or is that HOLLAween? - to get another buttery, sugar-filled taste of the Shannon-Thompson clan.

"Here Comes Honey Boo Boo Child" has polarized critics and audiences since its name was first whispered. Most criticism has pointed to the show as another poor representation of lower class southerner life, built on disparaging, antiquated stereotypes.

Although, an Atlanta healthcare group, Children's Healthcare, strongly disagrees with that assessment, saying its much closer to real southern life than most would like to acknowledge.

"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."

One episode of "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo Child" 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 that ran in the Sept. 23 edition of the newspaper, Children's Healthcare noted 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 wrote, "Honey Boo Boo and her family are not as different as everyone wants to believe."

Sing it, Child.  


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