via press release:
TLC TAKES VIEWERS INTO THE SECRET WORLD OF GYPSIES
Network Acquires Hit UK Series "Big Fat Gypsy Weddings"; Announces Development of American Adaptation
TLC will introduce viewers to the hidden world of gypsies with two projects that share the culture and traditions of this highly secretive community. Today, the network announces that is has acquired "Big Fat Gypsy Weddings," which originally premiered in the UK, and is in development on a new series that will explore the lives of gypsies and travellers in America. Both projects are productions of Firecracker Films.
"TLC prides itself on providing access to worlds that our viewers might not otherwise experience, revealing the relatable in the extraordinary," said Amy Winter, GM, TLC. "Having the opportunity to explore the hidden and often misunderstood gypsy and traveller culture continues the network's commitment to compelling storytelling and surprising real-life characters."
When it premiered in the UK, "Big Fat Gypsy Weddings" became Channel 4's highest rated documentary series of all time, averaging more than 9 million viewers. The series paints a visually arresting portrait of the secretive, extravagant and surprising world of gypsies and travellers in Britain today. Gaining rare access to this community, the series uses the prism of the weddings to reveal a community that lives alongside but detached from mainstream society. It is a community of contrasts, living by centuries-old religious and cultural traditions but at the same time embracing the flashier side of the celebrity and fashion-focused times in which we live.
TLC's broadcast of the seven-part series "Big Fat Gypsy Weddings" (working title) will premiere with a sneak peek on May 29, and will air weekly starting in June. The series will also air on TLC in Poland, Romania, Russia, Bulgaria, Serbia and Slovenia (& Italy for Discovery Networks Western Europe) later this year.
TLC has also started development on a series that examines the lives of gypsies and travellers in America, where there is an estimated population of 1 million, established throughout several communities in the South, but with a presence throughout the entire country. The series will reveal the everyday lives and the age-old customs that make up their family and social dynamics. With unprecedented access, viewers will be invited into these tightly knit communities and follow as they throw elaborate celebrations - including weddings that last for days - and how they interact with the society outside of their own.
The newly commissioned series is scheduled to debut in early 2012.