'Jon & Kate Plus 8' to feature less Jon, relaunching as 'Kate Plus 8'
By Reality TV World staff, 09/29/2009
TLC has decided to subtract divorcing Jon & Kate Plus 8 star Jon Gosselin from the reality series' title.
The network has announced it will relaunch Jon & Kate Plus 8 as a Kate Gosselin-focused series that will be retitled Kate Plus 8 and feature Jon -- who recently stated he now "despises" his soon-to-be former wife -- appearing on a "less regular basis" beginning November 2.
The rebranded series will feature "a deeper focus on Kate's role in the family and her journey as a single mother building the next chapter in her life," according to TLC.
"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," said TLC president and GM Eileen O'Neill. "The family has evolved and we are attempting to evolve with it; we feel that Kate's journey really resonates with our viewers."
TLC will continue "its exclusive relationship with Jon" despite his reduced role on the series, according to the network, which also revealed it is developing an additional new unspecified "Kate project for 2010."
TLC's announcement comes after Jon has repeatedly suggested he might leave Jon & Kate Plus 8 and expressed his frustration about the media coverage that has resulted from his family's participation in the show.
"I wish I had a 9 to 5 job instead of the nightmare I'm living. This is 24/7," Jon allegedly toldUs Weekly late last month. "I don't even want to do taping for the show anymore... I have two houses and eight children to take care of and I need to work."
"I never said that," he told People. "A fan asked me, 'Don't you sometimes wish you could go back to a 9-to-5 job?' [And my reply was,] 'Yeah, because this is 24/7 and 9-to-5ers punch in and punch out and you have no responsibilities.'"
Despite his denial of the alleged late August comments, it wasn't the first time Jon had expressed a desire to leave the show.
Even before Kate filed for a no-fault divorce in June, Jon had expressed uncertainty about continuing to appear in the TLC reality series that made him a household name.
During Jon & Kate Plus 8's fourth-season finale which aired in March, he had openly speculated whether the show would continue with future seasons.
"Maybe we'll be back, maybe we won't," he said during the finale.
"It's hard being on this side of the camera... and trying to live your life, and people see your life as episodes, and you see it as a date on the calendar. It's tough. I can't be 'Jon.' I have to be 'Jon & Kate Plus 8,' which is a real hard thing for me and I still haven't come to grips with it."
However Jon & Kate Plus 8 was renewed the following month -- leading to Jon calling the show a "business" during May's fifth season premiere.
"This is a different kind of career because this is your life and your career. In no other place does that exist," he said during the premiere. "We originally did the show to document our kids lives and I mean it's become a business just like anything else."
Jon's uncertainty about his long-term future with the show had also been been discussed in Jon & Kate Plus 8's June 22 fifth-season broadcast, which featured the couple's formal separation announcement and aired on the same day as the divorce filing.
"It's day-by-day for me, I don't know what's going to happen," Jon said about his commtment to the show and the shared custody and separate filming schedules the couple was developing. "I mean I could get offered a job... and that'd change the whole schedule. I don't know."
Jon later stated he didn't feel any particular loyalty to Jon & Kate Plus 8 and was only doing the show until "something better" came along in an August interview with In Touch Weekly.
"I'll do the show until something better comes up," he said. "But I don't want it to end because that is my job. That's my financial means -- we have a lot of stuff to pay for, like education. I'm sure there are things that are more financially beneficial. If I leave the show, then I leave the show -- that's how it is."
Jon's "something better" list had reportedly included Divorced Dad's Club, a tentatively-titled new reality series that would have also starred Michael Lohan and Kevin Federline, however his exclusive TLC contract prevented his participation in the project.
"There's contracts and all this stuff. That's why I have a legal team, that's why I have management. They'll have to work it out," he told ABC's Primetime program in an interview broadcast earlier this month. "I might not be able to do it."