‘Jon and Kate’ Get Off the Couch
When "Jon & Kate Plus 8" returns to TLC on Monday (9 ET/PT) after a month-long hiatus - and endless tabloid coverage over the reality couple's separation - you'll see some changes.
"The iconic couch is gone and replaced by separate interview chairs for Jon and Kate," says TLC chief Eileen O'Neill. "You will see them separately parenting. You'll see Kate put a tent up in the backyard and see Jon struggle in the kitchen trying to make pizza for his kids."
The Gosselins' split "was something we never expected or planned to have happen," but when "life intervened and their family status changed," the show's ratings soared to a record 10.6 million viewers on June 22, huge by cable standards.
It's unlikely that level of success can be maintained now that the couple is no more. "This is real life; it's important to remember our cameras are there for moments in time," O'Neill says.
More news from the semiannual gathering of TV writers:
- HBO has renewed all three shows on its current Sunday lineup: "True Blood," ''Hung" and "Entourage," for next summer. The network hasn't ruled out the return of "No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency," though execs are trying to figure out how to approach a second season after the death of creator/director Anthony Minghella. (The series is based on books by Alexander McCall Smith.)
HBO also expects to air "The Pacific," a multi-part sequel of sorts to "Band of Brothers," produced by Steven Spielberg, in mid-March, and "Treme," a drama about post-Katrina New Orleans from David Simon ("The Wire") in April. "Big Love" returns for a fourth season in January.
- On Nov. 3, a year after the presidential election, HBO will air "By the People: The Election of Barack Obama," a documentary that takes an "all-access pass" look at the Obama campaign. Produced by actor Edward Norton and directed by Amy Rice and Alicia Sams, the film follows the candidate from Iowa through his victory.
Though he was clearly a success as a candidate, it's far too soon to tell whether Obama will be a success as a president. But the film, Norton says, isn't tied to Obama's popularity or even to his presidency: "Whatever the ultimate review of his presidency, people can say this moment was a singular moment in American history. And here's at least one document of how it happened."
- It took 11 years, but "Seinfeld" creator Larry David has finally agreed to a reunion - just not on NBC.
Look for it on "Curb Your Enthusiasm" on HBO. "For years I've been asked about a 'Seinfeld' reunion, as has Jerry and other cast members. I said I'd never do that, it's a lame idea, and then I thought, but it might be funny to do that on 'Curb,' " he says. "I started to think of different scenarios and how we might pull that off."
So he enlisted Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander, Michael Richards and recurring characters such as Estelle Harris, who played George's mother. They'll appear in up to half the season's 10 episodes, starting with the third and culminating in a probable hour-long season finale.
The show's seventh season starts Sept. 20.