If you have never seen the Learning Channel's reality show called Jon and Kate + 8, I'm sure by now you know who they are, based on the fact that they are on the cover of every magazine, tabloid and home page of gossip and entertainment websites.
Jon and Kate were a couple with problems getting pregnant so through a series of fertility treatments they ended up with twins and sextuplets! They began with a couple of one hour specials that ended up being a weekly reality show that had a big following - certainly big by basic cable standards.
Many people said they were turned off last year when the series turned into a Travel Channel clone - with the family taking trips almost every week, anywhere from Hawaii to California to the Carolinas - all expenses paid. They also began with product placement in their home - striking deals with Procter and Gamble, Gymboree and many others, to use their products on camera and vocally talk about how much they loved them. They ultimately moved into a million dollar compound and ceased contact with most of their families, including the childrens' young cousins. Family members and others have written blogs talking about verbal abuse in the house when there were no cameras, sexual affairs, and am army of nannies, personal assistants, publicists, bodyguards and housekeepers.
In other words, the whole thing is very messy.
However, they couple have agreed to keep the cameras rolling, even though they admit their marriage is deeply troubled and that they are stalked by paparazzi on a daily basis. Kate said she believes the children are unaffected by the storm and are unaware of any trouble.
Their supporters believe they should continue to share their lives with viewers who feel they have come to know them personally and genuinely care about their kids.
Others claim it's all about money and fame and that the children are being deeply scarred by the parents' decision to have their kids on camera on an almost daily basis.
Jon and Kate are currently on the covers of all the major tabloids and celebrity magazines and none of it is done in a favorable light. Kate has been on the road for several months, doing publicity tours for her new book and television shows like Larry King and Dr. Phil.
The Learning Channel has been besieged with letters and calls for the show to be canceled, citing how inappropriate it is to allow the show to go on, in light of the tabloid obsession with Jon and Kate. TLC is currently running promos for the premiere of Season 5 - airing next Monday. They are using the tabloids and scandals as the main focal point of these promos, with Jon and Kate as full participants. People protesting the show feel the parents are exploiting their children for money.
Fans of the show are also contacting TLC, calling for the show to go on - and for Jon and Kate to work on their differences - and marriage - in front of the same people who have supported them for so many years.
TV critics expect the ratings to be the highest ever, for Mondays premiere.
Are these scandals and tabloid covers harming the children (ages 5 and 8 collectively)? Should this show be canceled or should it be business as usual? Will you watch it?
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