TLC to halt production on series until Aug. 3

TLC’s “Jon & Kate Plus 8″ will go on – even though their marriage won’t.

After a week of speculation – brought on initially by a TLC promo — series stars Jon and Kate Gosselin confirmed on Monday night’s episode that they had filed for divorce in the state of Pennsylvania.

On Tuesday morning, TLC said shooting on “Jon & Kate Plus 8″ would take a break in the wake of the couple’s divorce filings – but that the show would resume on Aug. 3.

Next week’s episode will be “a retrospective of Jon and Kate’s first 10 years” as a married couple, the cabler said.

“TLC continues to support the Gosselin family and will work closely with them to determine the best way to continue to tell their story as they navigate through this difficult time,” the channel said in a statement.

During the hiatus, “the family will take some time off to regroup and then a  modified schedule will be in place to support the family’s transition,” TLC added.

TLC had promised a major announcement in Monday night’s episode. But given the fact that it was no secret the Gosselins’ marriage was on the rocks – followed widespread confirmation Monday that divorce papers had been filed – the on-screen reveal wound up being anti-climactic.

Given the hype surrounding the episode, TLC will likely see series high viewership levels for Monday night’s episode. Show previously hit a high of 9.8 million viewers for its fifth-season premiere at the end of May.

That episode first addressed the Gosselins’ marital woes, but subsequent fifth season episodes have seen a steady ratings dip.

But likely much to the relief of TLC execs, “Jon & Kate” will continue to shoot – albeit, with the parents living separate lives.

“I’m still on the show, but we’ll interview separately,” Jon Gosselin said on-camera. “We’ll film different things, me and the kids, her and the kids.”

Added Kate Gosselin: “The show must go on.”

TLC initially remained mum on the state of the show or the Gosselins’ relationship, declining to comment on the events until the day after the episode airing.

It still remains to be seen how TLC will handle the episodes of “Jon & Kate” shot before the divorce papers were filed – and now instantly dated. The channel has made a huge 40-episode order for the show’s fifth season; only six have aired.

Long term, the channel must also now contend with the fact that they’ve now got a very different show on their hands. What was once a pleasant chronicle of a young family struggling to raise eight children – one pair of twins and a younger group of sextuplets – has now turned into a darker take on divorce.

Kate Gosselin said she didn’t blame the show for the marital breakdown.

“It’s the next chapter,” she said. “It was not brought on by our show or caused by our career choices at all… We’ve always done the show for the kids, to be able to provide for them, to collect the memories for ourselves.”

Still, in what the children’s father called the “hardest episode ever,” both sides expressed regret that things had led to, as one of them characterized it, “a total breakdown of everything.”

Jon Gosselin, meanwhile, criticized the press attention that has centered on their relationship in recent months, particularly the paparazzi camped outside his house.

“We have soldiers dying in Iraq, and all these people care about is what I had for lunch,” he said.

Although both parents said they had agreed to a “separation,” a stark on-screen message at the end of the episode announced that “On Monday, June 22, legal proceedings were initiated in Pennsylvania to dissolve the ten-year marriage of Jon and Kate Gosselin.”

According to the couple, the eight children will continue to live in their Pennsylvania home, while the parents will take turns living separately with the kids in the house.

“Jon & Kate Plus 8″ began in 2006 as the Discovery Health Channel special “Surviving Sextuplets and Twins.” The show later moved over to TLC, where it has helped the cabler stage a ratings comeback.

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