NEWS > ENTERTAINMENT > UPCOMING JON AND KATE SEASON MAY SEE DEATH OF MAJOR CHARACTER
UPCOMING JON AND KATE SEASON MAY SEE DEATH OF MAJOR CHARACTER
May 15 2009
Silver Spring, MD – The clean-cut All-American persona that the Gosselin family has presented has no doubt been the driving force behind the runaway success of their reality television show ‘Jon and Kate plus 8’. The glimpse into the lives of a the family of ten has been nothing short of a phenomenon with millions of viewers, books,
DVD’s, and appearances on major talk shows. The massive success of the show has prompted a raft of imitators as networks scramble to replicate the inexpensive success in the ever more competitive television market.
The news of possible infidelity on the part of one or both of the leads in the show has sparked a furious debate and put the show on everyone’s lips just weeks ahead of the start of the new season, a move that will no doubt push the success of the show to ever greater heights. Now comes talk that the series may see the death on one of the major characters, a common tact in television to boost viewership, though it’s not immediately who will be leaving the show.
“Shows use the death of characters as a ratings grabber and, ever more important in
this economy, as a way to reduce the payroll. It’s always worked really well and there’s no reason to assume that a reality show wouldn’t benefit in the same way as a fictional show,” said Scrape TV Entertainment analyst Tracey Temple. “Reality shows have a lot of advantages over fictional shows which is why networks are envious of the model. For one the shows are dramatically less expensive to produce. They also have the ability, as Jon and Kate is showing right now, to manipulate the storyline and keep in people’s minds during the offseason. With fiction the actors can bring attention by doing silly things through the break, but it’s not quite the same thing as the characters. Fictional characters tend to be under wraps when the show isn’t in production.”
With the furor over the two namesakes of the show, the expectation is that one of them would be targeted for elimination in the upcoming season, which begins airing May 25th, but the increasing presence of the child performers may lead to the elimination of one of them.
“Like a fictional show, they could always milk the death by bringing whomever they get rid of back to life. It would probably be a lot more palatable to kill one of the parents as that would allow
them to exploit the family values angle which has been one of the hallmarks of the series. Plus killing kids rarely goes over well,” continued Temple. “Aside from that ratings benefit, the reduction of personnel would be a benefit to both the network’s pocketbooks and the creative focus of the show. As the children get older and have more clearly defined personalities they are going to require more and more screen time. By eliminating a character they are giving themselves a lot more flexibility and setting the show up for a long run.”
TLC, the network behind the show, had similar off-season success with fellow family show ‘Little People Big World’. Before the start of last season, that show’s principle lead character Matt Roloff was convicted for driving under the influence, leading to major creative and ratings success.
“True they didn’t kill off the character in that series but that may have just been the test. They have every reason to believe that by upping the ante, which they are no doubt doing here, that they can knock this series into the
stratosphere. It’s a big risk especially in their biggest show, but if they are successful, well there’s no end to the money they could make,” continued Temple. “This could lead to a whole new way of running reality shows and bring them more in line with what traditional television has been doing successfully for years. We may even see this extended to other reality shows like newscasts, which would really spark a dramatic change in the way we view television, with death always a possibility.”
It’s not immediately clear if cast members will be killed off in real life alongside their characters.