The Watchman: TLC Gets ‘Hot & Heavy’; Disney Channel Takes it to the ‘House’

TLC on Jan. 7 debuts Hot & Heavy, a docuseries about three couples in “mixed-weight relationships,” according to the network. The men love plus-size women, and deal with any related pushback. “We had been inspired by certain people in our own lives who struggled with society’s acceptance of their own relationships,” TLC senior VP of development Jason Sarlanis said. “This is a space that felt very raw and real to us. These couples let us follow their struggles and triumphs against society and within their own communities, and we wanted to share that with our viewers.”

TLC's 'Hot & Heavy'

TLC's 'Hot & Heavy'

Hot & Heavy arrives at the right time, in Sarlanis’s view. “We are proud to give these women, who love their bodies and relationships, a platform to help promote body positivity and erase stigma,” he said.

There are three one-hour episodes.

Why does the show focus on plus-size women, but not large guys? “We wanted to break the conventionally acceptable stereotype of plus-size men with smaller women that is pervasive in pop culture and media,” Sarlanis said. “The women we’ve featured in this show are empowered and rightfully believe they deserve to find love.”

Fantasy-comedy The Owl House begins on Disney Channel Jan. 10. The animated show is about Luz, a teen who stumbles upon a portal to a magical realm where she befriends a rebellious witch, Eda, and a tiny warrior, King. Luz pursues her dream of becoming a witch by serving as Eda’s apprentice at the Owl House and ultimately finds a new family.

Disney Channel's 'The Owl House'

Disney Channel's 'The Owl House'

Dana Terrace created the show. Before that, she was on Gravity Falls. Alex Hirsch, creator of Gravity Falls, voices King. “He’s a little demon monster who likes to eat out of the garbage and create mischief,” Hirsch said. “I can relate.”

Sarah-Nicole Robles voices Luz and Wendie Malick handles Eda. Luz is inspired by Luz Batista, storyboard artist on The Owl House, and Terrace’s former roommate. “A lot of Luz’s personality came from the stories we would tell each other,” Terrace said, “about what dorks we were in high school.”

How is it similar to Gravity Falls? That show was about an “unusual found family,” said Hirsch. “The Owl House digs deep into those themes — characters who don’t quite fit in the world they come from and find a place they all can be a team and be a family.”

Hirsch hopes viewers learn from all of the characters. “I hope they take away from the show a sense that anything’s possible,” he said. “I hope they take away Luz’s optimism and Eda’s cleverness and King’s fuzziness. Those are three ingredients that are important to survive in this world.”

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.