TLC showed up at Thursday’s (July 30) Television Critics Association press tour to present “Masters of Reception,” a new series featuring Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos.
Aware, though, that more reporters cared mostly about one thing, TLC President Eileen O’Neill took the podium to make a statement regarding a little show called “Jon & Kate Plus Eight.”
O’Neill noted that although Jon and Kate Gosselin’s separation and pending divorce has brought avalanches of press and skeptical publicity, it has also offered a teachable moment for the cable network’s audience.
“It has resulted in unprecedented television,” O’Neill told reporters. “Our approach to the circumstance is simple: To cover the family with great care and thoughtfulness as they deal with this subject. And this subject is familiar to many, many Americans.”
O’Neill added, “Jon and Kate have never said they were perfect, which has made them relatable and created an undeniable connection with our viewers. We will continue to capture this family’s journey in a respectful and sensitive way.”
So “Jon & Kate” isn’t going off the air, but that doesn’t mean that viewers won’t return to a fairly different series.
“The show comes back this Monday and many of the episodes are still works in progress, but a couple of things you should know: The couch, the iconic couch, is gone and been replaced by separate interview chairs for Jon and Kate. You’re going to see two parents who love their kids more than ever and you’ll be seeing them separately parenting,” O’Neill said. “You’ll see what it’s like when Kate has to put a tent up for the first time for her kids who like to camp in the backyard and she gets a little advice from her daughter who doesn’t think she does it as well as dad. You’ll see Jon struggle in the kitchen trying to make pizza for his kids.”
Sensing that critics were particularly curious about upcoming appearance from any of the various women linked to Jon in the tabloid press, O’Neill made only a simple comment.
“As far as new people and places that maybe cycling into Jon and Kate’s lives, we’re taking it on a case-by-case basis. This is real life. It’s important to remember that our cameras are only there for moments in time and those moments do have limits.”
Then, O’Neill very politely urged us to concentrate on Ripa and Consuelos and not take up in-panel time with “Jon & Kate” questions.