Friday, September 11, 2009

Dear TLC…

Those of you who know me know that I am an HUGE fan of the TV show Jon and Kate Plus 8.  It has been on my DVR since it’s pilot episode.  I own 2 seasons on DVD.  And, even though I’ve watched every episode, if a marathon happens to be on, I could be found watching them all again.

For those who have never heard of it, it is a reality tv show about this couple and their twin daughters and sextuplets who live in Pennsylvania.  It started out as a inside view on the lives of Kate, a nurse, and Jon, an IT guy, as they raise their 8 kiddos.   I loved it because it showed their everyday lives and their cute little ones.   There are several of the kids’ statements that have ended up in my everyday language:  “altergater”, “him’s a yiddle guy”, and “Hannah pooped.  In Hannah’s underwears.”  Too cute!!! 

But, all of that has changed.  Now, of course, the Gosselins are famous for being in the tabloids and slamming each other on primetime TV.  As a child of divorce, I have always been so thankful and proud of my parents and how well they spoke of each other around us.  I always felt like they had our best interest at heart and felt so loved by both of them.  It makes me so upset to see Jon and Kate go on film and say the things they have been saying.  Their kiddos may only be in 3rd grade and kindergarten right now, but there is no doubt that at some point one of their friends will tell them about it or they will stumble on the youtube videos all on their own.  If they were using the show to watch a family navigate the waters of the separation, it would be a completely worthwhile show.  But, that’s not what’s happening.  They showcase trips they go on, events they host, and bickering at each other.

A couple of weeks ago, I made the decision to take them off of my DVR.  (You’d think this would be easy to do, but I really love watching the kiddos grow).    It was time.  Since then, Kate appeared on Larry King Live, and Jon appeared on Good Morning America where they blasted each other into little tiny bits.  I started doing some thinking.  I started wondering what their show was doing on TLC, “The Learning Channel”.  What the heck were viewers learning by watching them?  Were they learning anything constructive, beautiful, insightful?   I came back with the answer no.  So, then, why hadn’t TLC taken them off the air?  I’m sure some station touting less quality shows **cough cough** CW, FOX **cough, cough** could have picked them up alongside of Jerry Springer.  

I wondered why Jon and Kate themselves hadn’t decided to stop show production.  So, I started digging around.  (Disclaimer:  All of these numbers were found on random, gossip sites, and probably aren’t completely accurate, but if there is any semblance of truthiness there, then oh goodness).  Apparently,  the Gosselins get paid $65,000 per episode.  They each ask $25,000 per speaking engagement.  They just bought a $1 million dollar house (I do agree that they needed more space, however).  They have some money coming in, so to speak. 

Anyway, I decided that I would write TLC a little note to let them know that, in my opinion, the show had run its course.   Here’s my little note (I ask the two first questions because they said..ask us questions or comment).

Why have you not taken Jon and Kate Plus 8 off of the air?  When are you planning to do so?

I have been a huge fan of them and their family since the show began.  I have several seasons on DVD and until recently would never miss a show.  But, that has changed.  I removed the show from my DVR and now change the channel anytime it comes on.  Please, TLC is not helping the family or its own image by continuing to produce the show.  It has changed from a show about a normal, every day family to one that documents what a family can do with free trips, money, and merchandise.  It's not worth watching at all.  And, it makes me very sad to say that.  (All of this of course is in addition to how poorly the two stars have behaved through their recent separation). 

I hope that you will take this email to heart.  TLC has lost an avid viewer, and while I know I am not a part of a Nielsen family household, I hope that my voice counts. 

Thank you for your time.

Heather Stewart

Here’s the response that I got back.  Obviously, I am not the first or last person to write them, as they have created a form letter.

Dear Viewer:
Thank you for contacting TLC.  We appreciate your correspondence and for
taking the time to share your thoughts and concerns with us about Jon &
Kate Plus 8.
In an effort to ensure the highest quality programming, comments such as
these are taken very seriously.  Each and every comment is forwarded on to
our programming executives for review and consideration.  Maintaining the
integrity of all of our networks is our primary goal.  It is these types of
comments that contribute to creating change and improving our programming.
Again, thank you for contacting TLC.
Viewer Relations

Anyway, I feel bad for the family.  I guess as a total viewer who does not know anything about them in reality, I want for them to move on, and if they won’t do it on their own, I want TLC to pull the show…but since they won’t, then I guess that I will. 



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