Figure 8 Prods. president behind 'Jon and Kate Plus 8'
Bill Hayes thinks of himself as “the anti-producer producer.” The Figure 8 Prods. prexy doesn’t believe in meddling with his subjects. His m.o.: “Let the subjects speak for themselves and focus on people who can be really emotionally honest so they draw the audience into their story.”That perspective has guided Hayes through such reality shows as the wildly popular “Jon and Kate Plus 8,” in which he let the Gosselins — parents and kids alike — express themselves without a narrator. “It’s a story people want to follow because they don’t know what’s going to happen next,” Hayes says from his North Carolina home. “Kate is obviously very charismatic and relatable, but what’s really disarming is that she’s willing to be so honest about her problems. And the kids are always saying and doing things you don’t expect.” Hayes is also responsible for bringing cameras into the homes of other large families, exec producing “Table for 12” and “18 Kids and Counting” for TLC, as well as special-interest skeins such as “Little Parents, Big Pregnancy,” about little people longing to be parents, and “Joined for Life,” about conjoined twins. “Family struggle is a good story because people love to see other people overcome their challenges,” says Hayes. Impact: Exec produces several reality shows featuring families with multiple kids, including the wildly popular “Jon & Kate Plus 8.” Next: A half-hour show about people who capture venomous snakes for Animal Planet. Causes: Teaches as an adjunct professor at the U. of North Carolina.