Wrigley the Beagle- perhaps the most sympathetic cast member of TLC's All-American MuslimAfter just one season on the air, Silver Springs, MD-based Discovery Communications [NYSE DISCA, DISCB & DISCK] announced the cancellation of All-American Muslim reality show on the TLC network this week.
"All-American Muslim," the reality TV show on TLC based in Dearborn, MI that ignited a national controversy, will not be back for a second season, the Free Press has learned.A number of Christian and Jewish groups decried the show, saying it whitewashed, minimised or obfuscated the threat of home-grown radical Islamists and pressured sponsors to pull advertising from the show.
TLC officials said the show was canceled because of low ratings, noting that viewership dropped from 1.7 million for its first episode in November to 729,000 in January.
The TV series featured the lives of five Dearborn families who are Arab-American Muslims and looked at their everyday activities as they negotiated their religious and American identities.
One such group had reportedly persuaded home improvement chain Lowe's [NYSE: LOW] to pull ads from the show, much to the consternation of busybodies such as hip hop mogul Russel Simmons or California State Senator Ted Lieu who immediately called for a nationwide boycott of the home improvement retailer. Lieu, the Torrance, CA-based Democrat, even threatened Lowe's with what he called 'Legislative remedies'.
Other sponsors such as Kayak didn't mince words when they announced they were pulling ads from All American Muslim.
In explaining the decision, he said Kayak's approach to advertising is to place ads based on who watches a program, and not its political leaning. Birge said the company deemed the show a worthy topic at first, but looked into the program more carefully after receiving angry emails over its decision to advertise.A number of people who were incliced to give the show the benefit of the doubt lost interest in watching when Jeff, a newlywed and recent convert to Islam was pressured by his Muslim wife Shadia into dumping his longtime pet, a 16 year old beagle named Wrigley at an animal shelter because the dog was considered 'unclean'. Although Jeff would later return and rescue Wrigley from the shelter, the damage was already done in the eyes of most viewers.
"The first thing I discovered was that TLC was not upfront with us about the nature of this show. As I said, it's a worthy topic, but any reasonable person would know that this topic is a particular lightning rod," he said. "We believe TLC went out of their way to pick a fight on this, and they didn't let us know their intentions. That's not a business practice that generally gets repeat business from us... Sadly, TLC is now enjoying the attention from this controversy."
At the end of the letter, Birge wrote: "Lastly, I watched the first two episodes. Mostly, I just thought the show sucked. Based on our dealings with TLC and the simple assessment of the show, I decided we should put our money elsewhere. Apologies again."