LOS ANGELES (Reuters Life!) - Production of reality show “Jon & Kate Plus 8” has hit a snag, as the cable channel behind the program and its star Jon Gosselin are embroiled in a dispute days after the company announced his name would be removed from the show’s title.
TLC said on Thursday that amid its fracas with Jon Gosselin, the U.S. cable network has suspended filming of his eight children with estranged wife Kate Gosselin, “pending further conversations between both parents.”
TLC reality show “Jon & Kate Plus 8” portrays the hectic family life of the two parents as they raise sextuplets and a pair of twins, but the show’s premise grew complicated when the couple filed for divorce in June.
In recent weeks, Jon Gosselin has been photographed with other women. He told a U.S. broadcast network he “despises” his estranged wife, and that she verbally abused him.
TLC said on Tuesday that it would change the name of the show to “Kate Plus 8,” effective next month.
Celebrity news show “The Insider” reported that Jon Gosselin’s attorney sent TLC a letter stating, “effective immediately, no production crews are to enter Jon’s family home for any reason.”
People magazine said the attorney’s letter was dated the same day TLC announced the show’s name would be changed to “Kate Plus 8.”
Media reports on Thursday showed a picture hanging on the gate outside the Gosselins’ home which told TLC production staff to stay away, under penalty of trespass.
Jon Gosselin has argued through his attorney, Mark Jay Heller, that he now believes his children’s appearance in the show is detrimental to them.
Heller could not be reached for comment.
In response, TLC officials said in their statement that they are “deeply disappointed” at Jon Gosselin’s “continued erratic behavior.”
“He and the family were shooting as recently as last Friday, without incident,” TLC said. “And his latest comments are grossly inaccurate, without merit and are clearly opportunistic.”
Ratings for “Jon & Kate Plus 8” spiked to 10.6 million viewers when the couple announced their divorce in June, but viewership recently dropped to about 1.7 million.
Lifetime is part of A&E Television networks, which is a joint venture of Walt Disney Co.’s ABC Television Group, the NBC Universal media wing of General Electric Co. and closely held Hearst Corp.
Editing by Bob Tourtellotte