It was never going to make the top of a “most tasteful reality shows” list, but in light of the recent tragedy in Newtown, Conn., the newest offering by cable channel TLC — a one-hour special titled Best Funeral Ever — has been delayed until January, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The show, originally set to air on Dec. 26, will now show on Jan. 6 in deference to the 27 victims of the mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Best Funeral Ever follows John Beckwith, Jr. and his staff from the Golden Gate Funeral Home in Dallas as they plan over-the-top sendoffs to loved ones in the style of traditional African “homegoings.” As opposed to funerals, homegoings celebrate the life of the deceased as they “go home” to God. Beckwith’s staff has planned events that include carnival days, discos, and barbeque cook-offs.
The one-hour special is intended to be a backdoor pilot, which tests show’s appeal to see if it warrants an entire season. Like many recent TLC shows, it was met with derision almost immediately after it was announced. Insults included statements that it “sounds like a joke” and references to “Coffin Boss Best Funeral Ever.” Other roundly criticized shows include Virgin Diaries (another backdoor pilot) and this year’s lightning rod Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. (Best Funeral Ever will now immediately after a Honey Boo Boo Halloween special — speaking of tasteful.)
TLC’s decision echoes many other broadcast and cable networks’ programming changes following the Newtown tragedy. Sunday’s Homeland season finale on Showtime was preceded by a disclaimer warning viewers about “disturbing” content. Fox pulled episodes of Family Guy and American Dad on Sunday as well, and Syfy canceled a high school violence-themed episode of Haven on Friday. Additionally, Saturday Night Live paid tribute to the victims during its cold open with the New York City Children’s Chorus singing “Silent Night” in lieu of a comedy sketch. Meanwhile, Paramount delayed Tom Cruise’s Jack Reacher premiere in Pittsburgh and canceled a Lincoln Center fundraiser screening, while Fox canceled a Parental Guidance post-screening party.
It’s the second time this year that Hollywood has altered its plans after a major tragedy. The mass shooting during a showing of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colo., in July prompted Warner Brothers to pull a trailer for the forthcoming film Gangster Squad that showed a theater shooting, and later to cut the scene from the movie entirely.