Former FCC Chair: Shows Such as 'Honey Boo Boo' 'Huge Part of American TV'

By Melanie Arter | December 10, 2012 | 10:38 AM EST

FILE - In this Sept. 10, 2012 file photo, seven-year-old beauty pageant regular and reality show star Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson gestures during an interview in her home in McIntyre, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

( Former Federal Communications Commission Chair Michael Powell on Wednesday praised the availability of programs such as “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo," a reality show that features Alana Thompson, a six-year-old pageant queen.

“Every month or every year, I giggle a little bit about some show that people are suddenly talking about that I don’t think you could have ever imagined choosing. If you come to me and say, 'Mike, I want you to choose Honey Boo Boo or the show with the duck guy or certain Food Channel networks,’ I don’t think if I had to predetermine that was my preference, I would have ever picked them,” he said.

“But the ability to stumble upon them or to hear people talking about them and then let me go into an environment and go kind of dabbling in that and suddenly find – you know what – I sort of like Honey Boo Boo, and now I’m watching it. I still think that’s a huge part of the American television experience,” said Powell, who is currently president and CEO of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association.

Powell was responding to a question about whether “most channels in a couple years will be like HBO – subscription based.”

Powell, who was head of the FCC from 2001 to 2005, said TV watchers “still want discovery, and I don’t mean just the TV channel. I mean the ability to find surprises.”

Honey Boo Boo’s show is a spin-off of the reality show “Toddlers & Tiaras,” which also airs on TLC.

Honey Boo Boo also made Barbara Walter’s of 2012’s “Most Fascinating People.”

Walters told Us magazine that she finds the relationship between Alana and her mother, June Shannon, to be “touching.”

“A lot of people will say, ‘For heaven’s sake, this is ridiculous, this is a child at 5 or 6 years old entering beauty contests,” she said. “But the relationship between Alana and her mother – that’s the story, the two of them. It’s very touching.”