Ding, dong the witch is... well, even less dead than before. Yes, Kate Gosselin--the newly-coiffed reality star and mother of eight
bank accounts children--will become the lone star of the newly rechristened Kate Plus Eight, meaning her partyboy prince of an ex-husband Jon has been asked to leave? fired from? who knows! the show. Yay for her, I guess. (And yay for TLC. At least this rhymes. What would they have done... Just Jon, 'Cause Kate's Gone?). But really, the whole thing isn't going to work.
The show's ratings have already dropped to under 2 million viewers a week this season, down from its series high of 9.8 million, which they netted for the divorcetastic season premiere. And I just don't buy that kicking old Ed Hardy Fan Club founder and president Jon to the curb is the way to cure those blues. Really there is no cure, because the show was supposed to be about a happy and enormous family, it was supposed to be feel-good and positive. But now fame and money has torn the family apart, both spouses have revealed hideous devils lying in wait under small town parent masks, and the children are getting more and more showy for the cameras. It's not natural anymore, it's forced and sad and sour. So why then is TLC soldiering on?
Well, because the damn thing has been a cash and attention generating machine. Everyone knows TLC now, not for being the domain of upbeat, affirming, sometimes even educational programming. No now it's the new, cynical American downward spiral version of that. It's upbeat, affirming, sometimes even educational material that quickly curdles into terrifying cultish behavior, drunk driving arrests, allegations of racism and homophobia, and now extremely public divorce. So if TLC's good name has been sullied a little bit, well that seems to be a trade they're willing to make for buzz. Though, thinking that fans of the Gosselins will forget everything ugly that's happened over the past six months and re-embrace the show once it's just Kate in the picture seems a little blinkered on the network's part.
And there's more! Kate is rumored to have taped a pilot for a frigging talk show. She's never been shy about her desire to become (or stay) rich and famous, but we never really thought her talk show pipe dream would actually happen. But again TLC has, I think, underestimated their viewers and are hinting that Kate's "new project" will drop in 2010. Remember when Stacy London from What Not to Wear had that talk show that no one watched? Yeah, well this will be like that, only worse. Sure it'll open big because of the freakshow factor, but what in Sam Hill does Kate really have to talk to us about? Raising eight children this far without losing or killing one of them surely means you know a thing or two about a thing or two, but Kate seems to have taken lessons about how to be famous and demanding and camera hungry more to heart than she has ones about how to be humble and stay sane in a frantic world. So unless her show is about how to monetize your children for your own selfish gains, I just don't see the appeal.
So TLC is taking big gambles on their biggest star to date while failing to realize, so blinded are they by immediate paychecks, that Kate Gosselin is no longer a star. She's an ugly footnote in reality TV history. And her kids have become a tragic example of the fame game's unending chain of collateral damage. TLC's tower of Babel has fallen and the rubble just needs to be bulldozed away. We all know that. Why don't they?