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TLC weighs in on ‘8’ debate

Family has 'no hestitation' about more episodes

TLC topper Eileen O’Neill addressed the ongoing “Jon and Kate Plus 8” phenomenon by saying the network has to balance the show’s popularity with the family’s right for privacy.

Cabler has more than 30 episodes left on its deal and the family has no hesitation about going forward.

“It’s the family’s decision to be involved in the show,” O’Neill said. “We want to stay with them as long as they want to stay with us.”

TLC has received criticism for putting cameras on a family that has been unraveling over the last few months in the public eye.

“The media response has been dramatic and overwhelming,” O’Neill told reporters after the Discovery panel. “It’s a sensitive situation and we navigate that as we go along.”

Monday’s two half-hour episodes will have Jon and Kate giving separate interviews from different locales, and O’Neill said the series will focus more on the children than the protagonists’ dating lives in the coming months.

Net must walk a fine line of not looking to exploit the couple for ratings purposes, but the post-separation episode a month ago drew a record 10.6 million viewers.

Those numbers might be hard to keep up, but O’Neill said, “We’re hoping the ratings will stay strong and there will be continued interest.”

O’Neill explained the series will not be doing a segment on when Jon and Kate tell their children that they’ve separated and will be living in different homes.

“They have their private moments and we don’t want to show that,” she said.

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