TLC a few months ago commissioned a test six-episode series featuring tween parties at Pink Pastry Parlor in Alpharetta, run by 30-year-old entrepreneur Tiffany Young.
But in a quick turn of events, Oprah Winfrey plucked the show from TLC to OWN and will start airing it this Saturday night at 10 p.m., dubbing it “Party at Tiffany’s.” (OWN is a joint venture between Oprah and Discovery Communications, which owns TLC.)
TLC got someone who sounded suspiciously like Oprah on the phone with Young Wednesday evening to feed her the news herself though the woman never identified herself.
“I was completely shocked,” Young said today. “I’m not looking at it as a good or bad thing. I’m just excited.” (She said she is going to meet Oprah in person next week.)
The show, originally called “Pink Pastry,” was supposed to debut in November on TLC, but I was told a few weeks ago by a TLC spokeswoman that it had been postponed until December, then January. Young said today that TLC had brought in new producers and had shot new footage after the initial six episodes had been finished.
Pink Pastry’s 7,000-square-foot space features 21 different types of fancy cupcakes and hosts parties targeting pre-teen girls with themes ranging from “Project Runway” to “Dazzling Diva Spa” to “Princess Princess Spa.” The target audience: parents who want to pamper their daughters and their friends, typically on their birthdays. Among the options, kids get to decorate cookies, receive makeovers, play games and get tea and etiquette lessons. And naturally, the place is very very pink.
Another twist: Young’s employees are all high school girls, who can better relate to the clientele. Young dubs them Parlettes.
Young, who graduated from Clarkston High School and Valdosta State University, has had an idea to do parties like this for many years. She worked for four years in pharmaceuticals but was laid off five years ago. She struggled financially. “I lost my house, my car, my friends,” she said. But not her dream. She first tried to open a cupcake shop in Fairburn but after a few months, her shop was vandalized and she couldn’t afford to reopen there.
Scrounging together more cash, she found a new space in Norcross in 2009. Fortunately, business took off and was so strong, she moved this past summer to a larger space in Alpharetta. Business has remained robust, she said. Celebrities and their kids have come by, too. She cited P. Diddy; Lisa Wu Hartwell, formerly of “Real Housewives of Atlanta;” and Josh Smith from the Atlanta Hawks.
Oprah had watched all six episodes, loved it and quickly inserted the show into the schedule to start this Saturday after the finale of season one of OWN’s new reality show “Sweetie Pies,” another food-related business reality program that has done well for the network. Two episodes will air each week for the next three Saturdays.
The downside is this gives the network virtually no time to promote “Party at Tiffany’s.”
And for Young, she’ll likely get fewer viewers on the 11-month-old OWN than if she had stayed on more established TLC. TLC is on most basic cable networks while OWN is often in an advanced tier that many people don’t access.
“Party at Tiffany’s,” 10 p.m., 10:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3; 9 p.m., 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10; 9 p.m., 9:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 17
By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk