Large Family Affairs

By Jeff Pfeiffer

TLC is setting a "Table For 12"

You know it’s only a matter of time before “Octo-Mom” Nadya Suleman gets a reality TV series. The intense public fascination about her case has come as no surprise, really, since television has become filled with the pitter-patter (or, in some cases, stampeding) of little feet. Several popular programs have already been chronicling the adventures of similar people who have suddenly found themselves saddled — er, blessed — with multiple kids all at once. And like the parents, these types of shows are reproducing quickly. In fact, a new one called Table For 12 starts March 23.

Table For 12 premieres on TLC, which also has a current hit series of the same nature with Jon & Kate Plus 8. TLC’s sister company, Discovery Health, has also mastered this sort of programming. That network has, over the years, presented specials with titles like House of Twins, Double Identical Twins, Double Identical Twins: Four Years Later, Identical Quads, Five Under 5, Quint-Essential, Quints: The First Year, Quintuplets Revisited, Raising a Six Pack, 17 Kids and Counting, 18 Kids and Counting (do I hear 19?) and probably many more.

It’s obvious that people are now becoming blasé about mere twins, triplets and even quints. So Table For 12 continues the trend of ever-larger families. The series follows Eric and Betty Hayes and their three sets of multiples: 12-year-old twin boys Kevin and Kyle; 10-year-old twins Kieran and Meghan; and 4-year-old sextuplets Tara, Rachel, Ryan, Connor, EJ and Rebecca, who has cerebral palsy.

“There is an ongoing fascination with large families,” states Nancy Daniels, SVP of Production and Development at TLC.

So if I were Octo-Mom, I’d be shopping around at some of the Discovery networks.


Zave Smith/TLC