Friday, February 27, 2009

Making Multiple Births Fun and Profitable

[Hat tip to Art Caplan for bringing this story to our attention] With all the recent attention given to Nadya Suleman and her brood of 14, comparisons have been made to the popular show on TLC, Jon & Kate Plus 8, which chronicles the life of the Gosselins raising a set of twins and sextuplets. Philly magazine examines the way that the Gosselins have found a way to make the family business quite a profitable one -- and the article asks the uncomfortable question "when do your kids stop being your kids and start becoming your meal ticket?":

TODAY THE TWINS are eight and the sextuplets four, but Jon and Kate actually look younger than when the show began, more camera-friendly and polished. They’ve had their teeth whitened; Jon’s been working out and got a (free) hair transplant. The Gosselins have turned up on Oprah and Good Morning America, and inside the pages of In Touch Weekly and People. The show is TLC’s most popular series.

As a result, the family now goes on more free trips, and is treated to swag and catered to at every outing. Phils skipper Charlie Manuel let Jon and some of the kids run the bases after a game last season (they had box seats, and got an autographed bat from Shane Victorino); a zoo tour included getting to privately feed the giraffes. “They get the publicity of the trip, we get the trip,” Kate explains in one of the “Viewer FAQ” episodes. The kids model the latest tyke couture from Gymboree. They frolic with Wii Music, Play Doh’s Fuzzy Pumper Barber and Beauty Shop and Little Tikes Jump ’n Slide Bouncer as Jon gushes about why these are such great playthings and the camera zooms in on the logos. Nielsen ranks the series eighth out of 149 cable shows for product placement."

For the rest of the article, click here.

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