It may not have been TLC’s intent, but the fourth-season finale of Jon & Kate Plus 8 on March 23 managed to come off as the mother of all cliffhangers. Judging by comments made by Jon Gosselin in those final scenes – which, EW learned, was shot right around the time the tabloids broke the news of an alleged drink-fest with a couple of coeds – the costar of TLC’s popular reality show didn’t seem so keen on staying in front of the bright lights (“We don’t have privacy at all…it’s tough,” he admitted on camera). If Internet rumors are to be believed and the Gosselin marriage is really on the rocks – and there’s enough doubt out there to prompt the paparazzi to chronicle the couple’s every move – then a fifth season of the show would certainly seem unlikely.
For now, TLC won’t officially say whether a fifth season is in the
cards, though it’s certainly something the network wants. “Jon and Kate
are part of the TLC family and we obviously want them to be happy,”
says a TLC spokeswoman. “The top priority is to let them have some
quality time together.” She added that production can – and will –
accommodate the family’s schedule. The prospect of losing the hit program couldn’t come at a worse time for TLC, especially since the March 23 finale of Jon & Kate Plus 8
was the show’s
highest-rated episode ever among overall viewers (4.6 million), persons 25-54 (2.3
million), and women 18-49 (2.1 million). Eager to monetize the show’s stellar ratings, TLC would no doubt love to go into its New York upfront presentation for advertisers April 2 with the news that it’ll bow a fifth season of Jon & Kate as early as this June – that is, unless something changes with the family.
Fortunately for TLC, some original episodes have already been banked so the cable net can air new installments of Jon & Kate this summer (in fact, a hour-long special featuring the Gosselins going green is set to air on April 19). Given all the attention the show now attracts, its fans are sure to return – though some seem genuinely conflicted and have even begun to question whether the Gosselins should do a fifth season. Says one EW.com poster named Mich: “It’s time to wrap things up now. I’ve watched Jon and Kate sit and laugh with each other [or] just bickering [with] each other.” Adds another poster: “The show was great in the beginning, but fame and fortune is taking its toll.”