Reality shows replace learning on TLC

Designer cakes, wedding dresses, sextuplets and toddler beauty queens.

What do all of these things have in common? They each have their own show on thepopular cable network, TLC. Originally called The Learning Channel, the network has shifted far, far away from its original vision.

The network still retains its basic programming themes, but has pushed them to dramatic extremes. The channel was originally started in 1972 as an educational venue for shows about cooking, health, history, and home-improvement. If you dig deep enough, those themes can be found. “Cake Boss” is vaguely about cooking, and “Hoarding: Buried Alive” is vaguely about home improvement.

Some health programming is still there, like prime time specials on rare genetic disorders that cause extreme deformation, or the always ridiculous “I Didn’t Know I was