TLC Defends Its Controversial New Special, Virgin Diaries

Is such a "seminal life moment" just too personal for TV?

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TLC never shies away from telling the stories of profoundly different “normal” people. Sister Wives (sort of) took the edge off of polygamy, The Little Couple portrays perhaps the most functional pair of spouses on television, and Jon and Kate Plus 8 made raising sextuplets and twins seem mundane (though it did no favors for divorce).

Which is why the lifestyle station is moving on to the next frontier: stories about virgins. The subject, though unusual, fits with TLC’s commitment to televising, publicizing and often dramatizing every milestone.

“Losing one’s virginity is a big life decision,” TLC’s west coast vice president of production, Timothy Kuryak, told ABC News. “It seemed like one of those seminal life moments that’s interesting to follow for TLC.”

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The show, Virgin Diaries, is an hour long special about a group of 20- and 30-something virgins that premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. Eastern on TLC.

A trailer for the show features Carey, a 35-year-old bachelor who confesses that he’s “not a virgin entirely by choice” and three female roommates from British Columbia who Kuryak said are “saving themselves for when they meet their husbands.” But the show’s must-see factor comes from Ryan, 31, and Shanna, 27, a couple who decided to save their first kiss until their wedding day. Judging by the trailer, Ryan probably could have used a little practice.

Though some critics have taken issue with the ultra-personal subject matter, Kuryak insists the show is not “trying to make light of this or treat it in a sort of trivial way. We want to document these peoples’ stories and why they make this decision.”

The show is only planned as a one-time special, but Kuryak mentioned the possibility of additional installments pending the show’s success.

Despite TLC’s predilection for tackiness (Toddlers and Tiaras is a low point), it can humanely portray some taboo subjects, as well–All-American Muslim has drawn praise for its warm treatment of a Muslim community in Michigan. Only time will tell which way Virgin Diaries will skew.

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