PR Connection: Kate Plus 8… Entertaining America or Exploiting this Family?

June 30, 2010 at 2:22 am (PRCA 3330 PR Connections)

Kate Gosselin and her sextuplets on their sixth birthday          Back in April 2007, Jon and Kate Gosselin embarked on a life-changing television series (Jon and Kate Plus Eight) about living their lives together along with their eight children. For those who are not familiar with the family, it started off with Jon and Kate Gosselin, who’s desire to start a family was impaired by infertility when they discovered that Kate suffered from polycystic ovary syndrome. The couple then underwent fertility treatment and welcomed their first set of multiples, Cara and Madelyn in October 2000. The sextuplets; Alexis, Hannah, Leah, Aeden, Colin, and Joel; were born in May 2004.

          Jon and Kate Gosselin finalized their divorce in December 2009 after a ten year marriage and eight children together. In my opinion, the almost overnight fame and overexposure of the family in the media had much to do with this separation. Kate underwent a drastic transformation from the time the show originally aired to the present time. She was originally portrayed as a mother of eight who’s life revolved around taking care of her big family. Before we knew it, she was appearing in the tabloids then she was on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars in April 2010.

          TLC now hosts a show called Kate Plus Eight, which first aired in June 2010, that portrays Kate as a single reality TV star mom and her daily routine with her twins and sextuplets. Not only has the idea of the show adapted to her single life, but her looks have completely transformed as well. I don’t think there’s any way that a woman who has carried eight children could look as young and fresh as Kate Gosselin without plastic surgery and professional help from nutritionists and personal trainers.

          While watching the first episode of Kate Plus Eight I found it extremely difficult to form my opinion on what to think about this woman’s decision to raise her children in the spotlight in the manner in which she chose to. On the one hand, her failed marriage may have been a direct result of the overexposure of her family in the media and who knows what will become of the children as a result of being brought up under the constant watch of the media. On the other hand this family has been on television and in the media since the sextuplets were born and they have millions of devoted fans who love to follow along with the family on the TV series.

          So now the questions in my mind are.. Did the PR representatives for the Gosselins make a mistake in drawing too much attention to the issues in this family and making their lives too public? Are they responsible for the overexposure or was the family so eager to take full advantage of their fifteen minutes (plus a little more) of fame? Was it Kate or her PR rep’s idea for her to transform her image so drastically? Or was it a result of her newly single lifestyle?

          Honestly, at first I thought that TLC picking up the series Kate Plus Eight (dropping the ‘Jon’ aspect) was a mistake. But after watching the first episode and seeing how the children had formed a bond with the camera crew I might have to change my mind. After all, there are obviously millions of Americans who liked Jon and Kate Plus Eight enough for Kate to appear on Dancing with the Stars and then come back with her own reality TV series. Plus its a great way to rake in the much needed money required to provide a comfortable lifestyle for a family of nine. Only time will tell if the children will be able to handle life in the spotlight as they grow up.


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