Back in July, I wrote my own “Dear John” letter to Jon Gosselin, explaining that it really was him when it came to my decision to side with “Team Kate.” And now TLC, the cable channel that spawned the whole “Jon & Kate Plus 8” phenomenon, has written their own version of a Dear John letter, the pink slip. Ok, so the producers haven’t officially fired Gosselin, but he will appear less frequently on the show; think of him as a special guest star.
Redubbed “Kate Plus 8” beginning with the November 2 episode, the series’ focus now will be on Kate’s life as a single mother raising multiples. “Given the recent changes in the family dynamics, it only makes sense for us to refresh and recalibrate the program to keep pace with the family,” Eileen O’Neill, president and general manager of TLC, told Reuters. Call me a cynic, but maybe it just makes sense to refresh and recalibrate the program given the recent change in the *ratings dynamics*.
With this week’s viewership plummeting over 80% from a high of 10.6 million, it’s obvious that audiences aren’t taking to the bifurcated couple, thanks mostly to Jon’s newly discovered player ways–hosting parties in Vegas, his traipsing about with Hailey Glassman, and his trying to return the family’s German Shepherds to the breeder. So that last one is my personal pet peeve, no pun intended, but the fact is that Kate has been doing a brilliant reinvention tour, including a jaunt on “The View,” virtually erasing the housewife harpy character we loved to hate. And TLC is, naturally, going with the parent that can generate advertising revenues.
So “Kate Plus 8” doesn’t have the same rhythm as “John and Kate Plus 8,” but changing the focus of the show may be a good thing in the long run. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2005 there were 10 million single women raising children under 18 in the United States. All of a sudden the show has become a lot more relatable.
This may be just what Jon wants, as he often quoted as saying he wished he could return to private life. But, don’t count Jon out of the spotlight just yet. Perezhilton.com is reporting that Jon has asked to delay the divorce, stating that “…it appeared that Kate had been suffering from this divorce as much as I had. That’s why I asked my attorney to put the brakes on this divorce so I could try to regain control over the future of our family.” If I was a complete cynic, I might think he meant “future of our finances,” instead.