ABC has announced the Supernanny, its American version of the hit British reality series of the same name, will premiere January 17 at 10 PM ET/PT.
Supernanny was the subject of a fierce bidding war between ABC and Fox earlier this year. After losing out on the rights to the series, Fox did what it'd done with other recent reality projects that it'd lost out on -- and announced plans to launch its own clone of the concept. Like its Trading Spouses and The Next Great Champ knockoffs, Fox's Nanny 911 bet ABC's Supernanny to the airwaves, where it has delivered good ratings considering its highly competitive Wednesday 9PM time period.
ABC's Supernanny features "no-nonsense nanny" Jo Frost, a 15-year child care veteran who also stars in the British version of the series. In each episode of Supernanny, Jo observes how the parents handle their day-to-day obstacles with their children. Once she's assessed the pitfalls, she works with the parents, instilling her tried-and-true methods for transforming unwanted behavior.
After demonstrating just how well the new style will work and getting "unbelievable results" from the children, Jo leaves and the parents must attempt to use Jo's techniques on their own. Once the parent's have attempted to implement Jo's suggestions for several days, she revisits them at the end of the program to help keep them on track for the future.
According to ABC, Jo's simple methods stress consistency, communication and reasonable consequences for poor behavior, all delivered with loving firmness. She emphasizes the importance of spelling out the new rules of the household to children in advance, as well as explaining the consequences for infractions. One standard punishment in Jo's program is a short time out period on the "Naughty Step" or, for older children, in the "Naughty Room" -- a room devoid of toys, TV or other distractions. Children soon tire of the time outs and conform to better behavior.
Jo also candidly points out to parents where they need to be more decisive, more flexible or even how they may need to adjust their expectations of a child's readiness for certain behaviors. For example, graduating a child to a seat at the dinner table instead of a high chair may be long overdue and provide an easy fix to mealtime misbehavior.
Supernanny proved a hit in its native U.K. where The Sunday Times called it "surprisingly compulsive viewing."
Jo returned to London after the completion of ABC's eight initial Supernanny episodes, where she is filming additional episodes of the U.K. version of the program. Her parenting book, "Supernanny," will be published in the U.S. in January 2005.
Nick Powell is the creator and executive producer of both the American and British versions of the show. Craig Armstrong is executive producer of the American version. Supernanny is produced by Ricochet, Ltd.