Television: Labor, Love and Ratings

The Learning Channel swaps tax preparation for shows with blood, sweat and, especially, tears

Maree Florence has a spot reserved in her living room for at least an hour each day. The ritual is simple; she sits down, calls a friend and turns on the TV. She's not interested in following the inflated antics on General Hospital or in catching the latest familial betrayal on Jerry Springer. Instead, she turns on the back-to-back A Wedding Story and A Baby Story--half-hour shows about real couples getting married and having kids--on TLC daytime. "I cry at every one," says the 21-year-old Georgia mom. "I can't help it."

Neither can millions of other women. At a time when...

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