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Gosselins trumped by clever Heene family's 15 minutes

When it comes to TV-trainwreck families, the Gosselins are suddenly total lightweights when stacked against the blinding glory that is the Heene family of Fort Collins, Colo.

The Heene family last week apparently pulled off a made-for-Hollywood hoax of Capra-esque proportions: launching a homemade helium-filled balloon, claiming their little boy was stuck in the balloon when he was in fact hidden in the garage, and then sitting back and enjoying the drama while the cable news networks, the National Guard, authorities at Denver International Airport and a large swath of the American public got sucked in.

In the face of this competition, Gosselin network TLC is trying desperately to stretch this season of "Jon & Kate Plus 8" into November -- and to boost the show's sagging ratings. This is challenging because they stopped shooting any new footage of the show's eight adorable kids when Jon countered the cable network's announcement it was downgrading him to recurring character and changing the show's name to "Kate Plus 8" by filing papers to block the kids from participating in the show -- which he has suddenly decided is bad for them.

So, next week, TLC will not air an episode of "J&K+8" in which anything actually happens -- or faux happens. It will telecast one of those "special" episodes of the series in which the parents take viewer questions, only this time it will be called "You Ask, Kate Answers" and it will be all-Kate.

In the one-hour episode, we the viewers will get to do a shot of our beverage of choice every time Kate says "me" or "I" as she takes on "tough audience questions" culled from the roughly 9,000 submitted to her via all of TLC's digital platforms.

Among those "burning" questions:

"What would you like to set the record straight on about the show?"

And yes, you'd be hammered by the time she finishes answering just that one, so we're going to exempt that question and we urge you to use the time instead to walk your dog because it's going to be a long-ish answer.

Other questions:

"Do you have any regrets renewing your vows in Hawaii?"

"Is there money put away for the kids' education that neither parent can touch?"

"Do you ever see yourself getting married again?"

and, of course, most important to dog lovers:

"Why The Face did you and Jon discard the family dogs when you were splitting up?"

According to news reports, Jon got rid of the two family dogs as he and Kate were splitting up, blaming Kate (was that ever in question?) for not taking care of the dogs during those periods of time in which she had custody of the children at the house.

We think TLC's cable-cousin, Animal Planet should do a one-hour special detailing what has happened to these two, blameless German Shepherds, Shoka and Nala, and call it "Saving The Gosselin Dogs" -- like National Geographic did with Michael Vick's dogs.

Anyway, Gosselin stock has fallen so low these days that Life & Style Weekly magazine actually announced it has put out a "Special Gosselin-Free Issue."

"This is big!" an L&S publicist assured The TV column of the magazine's decision to actually publish a Gosselin-free edition.

"For the past six months, the Gosselin family had been covered in Life & Style Weekly every single week; they have appeared on the magazine's cover in some capacity -- headline, cover chip or full cover -- a whopping 17 times.

"We believe, for the sake of their children [the Gosselins] need some time to solve their problems behind closed doors," Life & Style Weekly editor in chief Dan Wakeford simpered in the announcement.

By Lisa de Moraes  |  October 21, 2009; 5:41 PM ET
Categories:  TV News  
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Next: Lifetime tosses Heene family "Wife Swap" episode overboard


Unfortunately this is yet another story tied to a reality show. The airwaves are filled with these shows with people who are not really living in reality. I like "Big Brother" along with a few others. But are we going overboard with these shows? They seem to be popping up like unwanted weeds.

Posted by: mrtalkback | October 22, 2009 6:31 AM | Report abuse

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