"Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" -- one of stranger appendages of the reality TV boom of the last ten years -- is facing cancellation following a report Thursday that matriarch "Mama June" Shannon had begun a relationship with a convicted pedophile.
In a statement, TLC -- owned by cable programming giant Discovery Communications -- said: "TLC is not currently in production on ’Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.’ We are very concerned about this new information and are reassessing the future of the series."
I am told, however, that TLC has indeed made up its mind about the future of the series -- and it is over. When I asked a spokeswoman about the show's continuation, she referred to the statement, adding: "We have no further information to share at this point."
The report, which first surfaced on TMZ earlier today, said that Shannon -- mother of the show's namesake and child beauty pageant contestant Alana Thompson -- was dating a Georgia man who was released from prison in March after serving a ten-year sentence for aggravated child molestation. It identified the man as Mark McDaniel, whom the report noted had started seeing Shannon during production of the fourth season, and had known her when the assault had first taken place.
TLC -- which declined further comment -- cancelled another reality series, "Sons of Guns" in August, following the arrest of series’ cast member, Will Hayden, on charges of child rape.
"Boo Boo," which arrived in 2012, instantly repelled critics (Hollywood Reporter: "horrifying..") and of course had the opposite effect on fans. Over two million tuned in for the premiere, although that may have been more of a rubber-necking phenomenon than genuine viewer enthusiasm. Nevertheless, “Boo Boo” has remained -- lurking mostly around the edges of pop culture these days, although still reflexively referred to by anyone seeking evidence for the decline and fall of American civilization. The audience had dwindled by the 4th season, which ended in August, but it still remains a draw for TLC.