Move over, bobbleheads—a new set of cutesy characters is attracting kitsch collectors across America. The Life Lessons Collection, a series of whimsical figurines used in TLC’s promos (see right), became the No. 3 best-seller on TLC parent Discovery Communications’ e-commerce Web site (discoverystore.com) less than a month after they were put on sale in early April. Spurred by viewers willing to shell out $14.95 a pop, TLC is now pitching cable operators about distributing the figurines online and at local events (lifelessonsontour.com). Focus group comments, wondering if the clay folk in the spots could be purchased, encouraged TLC to test consumer demand at retail. "It’s exceeded all our expectations," says TLC marketing director Neile Hartman. Five different Lesson figurines, each making a humorous point (such as "There are better rewards than food") about TLC programming, were initially created from the 20-odd characters featured in the TV spots. Four more figurines were produced to feed the frenzy, which should continue for a while thanks to a new set of "Lesson" spots with related figurines launching the first week of June. —SSA

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