|Opening theme||"Be Good Johnny" by Men at Work (USA version only)|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom
|No. of seasons||7 (UK) / 7 (USA)|
|No. of episodes||43 (UK) / 108 (USA) (list of episodes)|
|Running time||42 minutes|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV) 2010-12|
|Original release||7 July 2004– 7 September 2012|
|Related shows||Jo Frost: Family Matters
Jo Frost: Nanny On Tour
World's Strictest Parents
|Official website (UK)|
|Official website (USA)|
Supernanny is a reality TV programme which originated in the United Kingdom, about parents struggling with their children's behaviour, mealtime, potty training, etc. The United Kingdom version has aired on Channel 4 with E4 showing repeats since 2004. The program returned to Channel 4 after a two-year break in 2010, with E4 also showing more repeats. The show features professional nanny Jo Frost, who devotes each episode to helping a family where the parents are struggling with their child-rearing. Through instruction and observation, she shows the parents alternative ways to discipline their children and regain order in their households. Frost is a proponent of the "naughty chair" theory of discipline and is strictly opposed to spanking. Its competing series was Nanny 911.
In the United States, it aired on ABC and Style Network and currently airs on Up TV. The series ended in the US on 18 March 2011, due to low ratings, and ended on 7 September 2012 in the United Kingdom. A spin-off of the show was produced and is titled America's Supernanny.
Supernanny starring Jo Frost was originally broadcast in the UK on Channel 4 on 7 July 2004, following the success of Channel 4's Cutting Edge programme "Bad Behaviour". Supernanny is one of Channel 4's most popular shows, reaching nearly 5 million viewers in the first series, with consistently high ratings throughout the series. Supernanny USA is also shown on Channel 4 (and its sister channel E4) with respectable viewing figures.
The premiere episode for the third series attracted 3.1 million viewers with a 14% audience share. These values are half of those from the previous two series. Series 2 (UK) episodes 5 to 12 and Supernanny USA etc. is narrated by Nick Frost (no relation to Jo Frost). The theme song is "Be Good Johnny" by Men at Work (though the show's version is Colin Hay's version that appears on the album Man @ Work, and beginning with US Season 6, the song was discontinued. The fourth series of Supernanny began on 29 August 2007 at 8pm with "Beyond The Naughty Step" following straight afterwards on E4. The fifth run, broadcast over a year later on Channel 4, began on 24 September 2008. The sixth and seventh run of Supernanny in the UK begins starting from 9 February 2010 as Jo Frost: Extreme Parental Guidance. The eighth and final episode of the seventh series was postponed to 7 September 2012 and it aired on E4 instead of Channel 4. Supernanny UK Series 6 was narrated by Bob Marsden and Series 7 brought back Anthony Green as narrator after a break of 7 years.
Season 6 was supposed to be the last season of the USA version, as stated in the May 2010 newsletter on jofrost.com; but ABC brought it back for a seventh season. Jo Frost later confirmed that will be the last season. The final episode aired on 18 March 2011.
Lifetime developed a spin-off of the series, licensing the concept from program producer Shed Media. Titled America's Supernanny, the series is "the first true U.S. version of the hit global format that will feature Deborah Tillman".
The Hawthorne Effect
At Hawthorne Works in Cicero, Illinois, Elton Mayo and other researchers from Harvard University attempted to observe the relationship between a worker’s productivity and the environment which they are working in. They concluded that improved factory lighting increased the productivity of workers. However, when the study came to an end and worker’s productivity began to decrease with it, Henry A. Landsberger concluded that it was not the lighting change that improved worker activity but the motivational result of someone showing interest in them. Thus the term “the Hawthorne effect” was born and was officially defined as the theory that underlines the change in behaviour of participants in a study as a result of being observed. The Hawthorne effect is often used to explain a limitation of controlled observation research methods. The show Supernanny can be described as a controlled observation because Jo Frost enters into a household as a complete stranger to a family, and attempts to observe and then enforce a behavioural change upon both the parents and the children. This may initiate changes but leaves ambiguity and uncertainty as to why. There are two possible explanations: Jo Frost’s child-rearing methods are as impressive and effective as they are portrayed on the show to be, or the Hawthorne effect plays a big role in what viewers see as behavioural change.
The child-rearing methods of Supernanny are described as being consistent and non-aggressive, but most importantly as recognizing not only bad behaviour but good behaviour as well, and thus giving rewards like play time and punishments like time-outs as they see fit. She emphasizes incentives to promote good behaviour and deterrents to discourage bad behaviour. While the results appear to be promising, it is unclear whether Jo’s approaches stick long term. Although some episodes show the family days or weeks later to show how well her techniques have worked, the family is still in the presence of cameras and know they are being watched by Jo. It is difficult to prove its validity and distinguish true behavioural change from the Hawthorne effect. This is the case not only for the children, who may act differently in front of the camera and/or present themselves as more well behaved for Jo, but it is also true for the parents. It is entirely possible that they hide or accentuate different parenting techniques in front of Jo and the cameras, the reality behind the scenes appearing much different. While it is possible that the Jo’s techniques really do influence behavioural change in the families, overcoming the Hawthorne effect is a necessity in terms of proving Supernanny’s validity. In order for Supernanny to do this, observations need to be more long term and more discrete. These techniques are difficult to administer in a reality TV show - making the Hawthorne effect seem inevitable - however it sparks some curiosity, and is worthy of future discussion. It makes viewers wonder not only if Jo spent an extended amount of longterm time with the families, making her no longer a stranger, and removed all cameramen and their equipment, would the children begin to behave as they did before Jo arrived, but also if the parents would revert back to their old parenting techniques. Although it would be difficult to measure, it would certainly remove some ambiguity in terms of the shows legitimate long-term effects. It is important to correlate such an abstract term to behavioural traits of children. Psychologist Dr. Heather Wittenberg explains that children are more likely to act like their true selves for their parents. After “being good” at school all day or with a nanny all day, they can finally let loose and be themselves around their parents. So in this case, it is entirely possible that the children hold in their rambunctious behaviour while in the presence of Jo, or knowing Jo is watching, and then when the cameras are off the children they finally revert to their old behaviour. The older children are also aware that not only is Jo watching, but millions of viewers across at least 47 countries worldwide. Dr. Heather Wittenberg further explains that getting into a routine helps children significantly - a technique that Jo Frost tries to incorporate in almost every almost every household she visits. It seems to bring benefits. But again, the resources are limited to prove that Jo’s incorporation of routine actually sparked change. It is virtually impossible to prove that this approach will stick longterm. As a result, people are left with the option of trusting Supernanny’s portrayed successful methodology, or deeming its effectiveness a result of the Hawthorne effect
The USA shows begin with a short introductory clip of highlights from the episode; after the title segment, Frost is featured riding in a London TXII with the vanity plate "SPRNANNY", where she shows a DVD player with the family's submission video. The submission video introduces the parent(s), children, with their ages, and in some cases other important family members, as well as the parents' occupations (including if one parent stays at home with the children) and the specific issues the family is facing, concluded by a final call for help alongside a reassuring statement from Frost telling the family she's 'on her way!'
Frost spends the first day in observation mode, taking mental notes to assess the situation and to devise a plan of action. If a situation is especially serious, she will point out the matter for immediate action. After the first day, she holds the parents' meeting (with clips showing the parents initial reaction), where she praises the family for their beautiful children and then mentions the problems noted. (Earlier episodes had the meeting at the end of the first day; later episodes have it the following day.)
Frost then returns with tools designed to assist the parents in child-rearing. For example, if she determines that the children are misbehaving due to a lack of scheduled activity time with the parents, she will bring in a set schedule (customized for the family's needs). She also will frequently devise "house rules" for the family (sometimes the rules are predetermined by Frost, other times she provides a blank paper and has the family devise them). Frequent issues on the show involve discipline (as Frost does not endorse spanking as a means, she introduces the family to the "naughty chair/step" timeout) and sleep separation.
After a time, Frost will leave the house to allow the family to implement her actions on their own. The parents' actions are still being filmed, and upon her return Frost will call another parents meeting to praise them for doing well and/or show them where they went wrong. She will then provide reinforcement as needed.
The ending shows the family saying goodbye to Frost; later episodes feature the family at a later time showing how well her techniques have worked, along with (after the credits, often featuring a blooper segment) a teaser segment for the next week's episode.
Frost has called in outside assistance on more than one occasion:
- One family was dealing with an autistic son; Frost called in a clinical professor with expertise in autism to assist the family in communicating with their son.
- Another family (from the Chicago area) had a son showing signs of disrespect and future juvenile delinquency; Frost called in Chicago native and NBA superstar Dwyane Wade to speak with him.
- A third family had the father exhibiting classic signs of abuse (especially toward the female members of the family); Frost called in a social worker with expertise in abusive behaviour, as well as a woman who was abused by her father and, as a result, made poor decisions in relationships.
- In another case, the father was an alcoholic, Frost located a nearby Alcoholics Anonymous support group for him to attend.
- One family had deaf parents; Frost called in an interpreter to help with communication.
- One family was dealing with a son who has type 1 diabetes, so Frost compiled a chart of celebrities living with diabetes and called upon a professional snowboarder who was a diabetic as mentioned on the video and runs snowboard camps for children who are diabetic.
- One family was dealing with a daughter who had Down syndrome; Frost called in the professor from the segment with the autistic boy to help the girl and enlist the family in speech therapy.
A DVD Release of Supernanny entitled When Little Kids Cause Big Headaches was released in the UK on 12 April 2010.
A DVD Release Of Supernanny USA was Released On Region 1 in The USA on 16 May 2006.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||3||7 July 2004||21 July 2004|
|2||12||4 May 2005||5 October 2005|
|3||6||29 August 2006||3 October 2006|
|4||5||29 August 2007||26 September 2007|
|5||3||24 September 2008||2 January 2009|
|6||6||9 February 2010||16 March 2010|
|7||8||7 June 2011||7 September 2012|
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||10||17 January 2005||2 May 2005|
|2||17||23 September 2005||18 September 2006|
|3||15||4 December 2006||6 June 2007|
|4||20||2 January 2008||25 June 2008|
|5||18||3 October 2008||1 May 2009|
|6||13||23 October 2009||12 March 2010|
|7||15||5 November 2010||18 March 2011|
Supernanny has been broadcast or slightly adapted in other countries.
|Czech Republic||Superchůva k pohledání||Adult Swim|
|Germany||Die Super Nanny (2004-2011)
Mission Familie (since 2014)
|Netherlands||Eerste Hulp Bij Opvoeden||RTL 4|
|Cuatro TV|| TV3
| United Kingdom
| Channel 4, E4
W Network, Twist TV
- The UK Version of Supernanny is shown on Channel 4 (and its sister channel E4) and in Ireland on RTÉ One.
- The USA Version of Supernanny is also shown in the UK on Channel 4 (and its sister channel E4).
- Reruns of the USA version of Supernanny have been shown on Up TV since 2014, after Style Network, which formerly carried such reruns, was re-branded as Esquire Network. They were also shown on CMT beginning in 2015.
- The USA version is also shown in Canada on W Network and Twist TV.
- The Brazilian version is nationally exhibited on Silvio Santos's SBT network. The Argentinian-born Chis Poli is the Brazilian Supernanny).
- Katharina Saalfrank was the Supernanny in the German version, aired on RTL in a docufiction format, known to depict unreasonable family violence.
- Dorota Zawadzka is the Supernanny in the Polish version, aired on TVN, and a co-host of the talk-show I Ty możesz mieć superdziecko (You too can have a superchild), in which Supernanny analyses episodes from her series, talks to celebrity parents and gives her advice. It is broadcast by TVN Style.
- Cathy Kalthoum Sarrai was the Supernanny in the French version, aired by M6, until her death on 19 January 2010 from breast cancer. After a period of mourning, a new version of the show called 'Nannies' aired on 10 September 2013.
- Rocio Ramos is the Supernanny in the Spanish version, broadcast on Cuatro. Another version with teenagers called S.O.S. Adolescentes is also aired on Cuatro. In the Spanish regions of Catalonia and Basque Country, the original version is broadcast by TV3 with Catalan dubbing and by ETB 1 with Basque dubbing respectively.
- The Dutch version is called Eerste Hulp Bij Opvoeden. The name is a play on Eerste Hulp Bij Ongevallen(EHBO) the Dutch term for first aid.
- The Italian version is called S.O.S. Tata. Aired on La7.
- The Czech version is called Superchůva k pohledání. Aired on Adult Swim.
- The Singaporean version network on MediaCorp TV12 okto.
- The Malaysian version network on Ntv7.
- The Indonesian version network on MetroTV.
- The first Romanian nanny was Irina Petrea. The second was Raluca Iuga. The show aired on Prima TV.
- The Israeli Supernanny is Michal Daliot. Aired on Channel 2, the show is also called Supernanny.
- The Chinese version of Supernanny is broadcast on CCTV, however prior to creating a Mainland China-set version, the Mandarin Chinese dubs were based on Supernanny USA.
- Wendy Bosmans is the Supernanny in the Belgian version aired on vtm.
- In Australia "Supernanny" is aired on channel GEM and also previously aired on the Nine Network between 2005-2006.
- The Russian Supernanny is Natalya Barlozhetskaya. Aired on Ren-TV channel, the show is also called Supernanny.
In other media
- The US animated series Drawn Together spoofed the show in a 2005 episode. In the parody, Supernanny tries to use her powers of discipline to take over the world. She first takes care of Captain Hero (the superhero) by sending him to the Naughty Stool so he will not intervene, and then uses an army of mind-controlled children to invade the White House until Captain Hero re-appears. He stops her by stomping on her foot, which makes her curse out loud. For using profanity, he sends her to the Naughty Stool, at which moment the mind-controlled children break free and tear Supernanny to shreds.
- The US animated series South Park spoofed the show in a 2006 episode "Tsst", though unlike the Drawn Together episode, the Supernanny parody was not the focus of the show. In the episode, which also features parodies of Nanny 911 and The Dog Whisperer, Supernanny is one of the nannies called upon to discipline Eric Cartman but his behaviour ends up driving her to a mental institution and eating her own excrement yelling "From hell, it's from hell!".
- The movie Iron Man 2 also mentions the show. When Tony Stark is expected to remain in his residence under threat of violence, he is told by his keeper, Agent Coulson, that if he tries to escape: "I will taze you and watch Supernanny while you drool into the carpet."
- Child discipline
- Honey, We're Killing the Kids
- Take Home Nanny
- World's Worst Mom (TV show with the same premise—helping parents)
- Deans, Jason (30 August 2006). "'Mrs O' sees off Richard and Judy". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 24 May 2010.
- "Supernanny: Jo Frost Calling It Quits After Seven Seasons". tvseriesfinale.com. 7 November 2010. Retrieved 7 November 2010.
- Andreeva, Nellie (11 August 2011). "Lifetime Orders New U.S. Version Of 'Supernanny'". deadline.com. Retrieved 11 August 2011.
- The Hawthorne effect. (2008, November 03). Retrieved November 08, 2016, from http://www.economist.com/node/12510632
- McLeod, S. (2015). Observation Methods. Retrieved November 08, 2016, from http://www.simplypsychology.org/observation.html
- Gilbert, S. (2005, August 02). Those Televised Supernannies May Be Just a Bit Too Super. Retrieved November 8, 2016.
- Gaskell, A. (2012, March 07). How to overcome the Hawthorne Effect. Retrieved November 08, 2016, from http://www.peterborner.com/2012/03/07/how-to-overcome-the-hawthorne-effect/
- Fiedler, C. M. (2012, July 12). Why Kids Behave Badly with Their Parents « TheMotherCompany. Retrieved November 08, 2016, from http://www.themotherco.com/2012/07/why-kids-behave-badly-with-their-parents/
- Associated Press. (2006, April 11). ’Supernanny’ ready with advice, even at airport. Retrieved November 8, 2016.
- "Supernanny [DVD]". amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 29 October 2012.
- "Supernanny DVD 2006 Region 1 US Import NTSC". amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 29 October 2012.
- "Super Nanny est décédée". 20min.ch (in French). 20 January 2010. Retrieved 29 October 2012.
- "Drawn Together: Super Nanny Recap". TV.com. Retrieved 29 October 2012.