But now it's even worse: They're dressing up little girls as what radio hosts are calling "prosti-tots."
TLC aired an episode with a 3-year-old pageant contestant named Paisley ridiculously dressed as the Julia Roberts prostitute character in the 1990 film "Pretty Woman" -- complete with skimpy tank top, tight skirt, thigh-high boots and a blond wig. Did I mention this little girl is 3 years old? It makes you wonder if TLC's new slogan shouldn't be "TV for Pedophiles."
On ABC's daytime talk show "The View," co-host Sherri Shepherd was outraged. "If you think pedophiles are not watching this show, I've got a bridge I want to sell you." Even other reality TV stars like the Kardashians were proclaiming TLC has gone too far.
This scandal came just one week after TLC was forced to pull its Facebook page because of the deluge of negative comments over an episode that featured a little girl named Maddy dressed up to look like Dolly Parton, complete with wig and fake breasts and buttocks. The little girl stuck out her altered rear end and bounced around like a streetwalker.
Maddy's personal stylist did not like the "adult enhancements," but the little girl's mother overruled him. It's enough to make you wonder why social services wasn't called.
One Facebook commenter complained, "People will do anything to be on reality TV. Perhaps it's time for these producers to think about the impact of what they are encouraging." The only impact these cable programmers care about is the (SET ITAL) ka-ching (END ITAL).
It's quite possible that if these kinds of videos and photographs were found on the computer of a 40-year-old man, he might well be arrested or investigated for child pornography. But TLC spreads these images far and wide, with no consequences -- and no apparent shame.
Some might think the entire country would be sick of the whole notion of beauty pageants for little children after the relentless news coverage in the late 1990s of the never-resolved murder of 6-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey. But that kind of notoriety only makes the TLCs of the world more confident that they have something questionable enough to spotlight.