Jon and Kate Gosselin announced their divorce on Monday night's installment of "Jon & Kate Plus 8." The couple's highly publicized marital woes have made this series must-see TV this season. The ratings for this reality show starring Jon and Kate Gosselin and their eight children are through the roof with 10.6 million tuning in last night. And that rise in popularity could make a difference as nominees for this year's Emmy Awards are determined solely by a vote of the academy membership that ends Friday.
Almost 10 million people tuned into the Season 5 premiere of "Jon & Kate Plus 8" on May 25, just six days before the end of the Emmy eligibility period. The parents came together to throw a fifth birthday party for their sextuplets. In a statement issued after that emotional episode aired, they said, "As many couples do, we are navigating a very difficult time. Our current situation brings us together around the children and some times sets us apart. We keep our faith that we will make the right decisions for our family."
That decision turned out to be divorce. The split does not come as a huge shock for anyone who has tuned in to previous seasons of the show or followed the escalating tabloid rumors of alleged infidelities on both their parts. The show is going on hiatus until Aug. 3 as it deals with the changed family dynamics. The children will continue to live in the house with Jon and Kate switching off residence. Just how the series will document the difficulties of the eight children as they adjust to this new kind of family life remains to be seen.
Six of the 40 episodes slated for this season have aired. Season 4 of "Jon & Kate Plus 8" boasted a staggering 41 episodes. The Learning Channel included two of those episodes — "Korean Dinner" and "Backyard Campout" — as part of the Discovery network's Emmy campaign box, which shipped in May. However, producers have submitted that gripping Season 5 premiere – "Turning Five & the Future" – for consideration by Emmy judges should the show makes it into the final five nominees.
Last year, "Jon & Kate Plus 8" was submitted in the reality program category but failed to earn a nomination. The TV academy rejected a request by the Learning Channel to switch to the race for nonfiction series this year. That ruling means that if "Jon & Kate Plus 8" does get a nod, the competition could well include two-time champ Kathy Griffin and her series, "My Life on the D List."
In the past two years, Kathy Griffin has beaten back such competition as the genteel "Antiques Roadshow," the heart-tugging "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," and the newly clean and sober on "Intervention." Could eight adorable children (plus two less than perfect parents) be her undoing?
And the Emmy nominees for best reality-competition program will be . . .
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Photo: The Learning Channel