TLC’s “Jon & Kate Plus 8’s” strong recent ratings performances, fueled by real-life marital woes, has other reality TV producers hoping for the same kind of hype, the Hollywood Reporter says.
"You don’t want something to happen like what’s happened to Jon and Kate, but you hope someone does something to shake things up,” reality program producer JD Roth said. “That’s what moves the drama forward."
While controversy has helped boost the show’s numbers, some of the drama can also lead to changes in the show’s format. VH1’s “Scott Baio is 45 and Single” updated to “Scott Baio is 46 and Pregnant” after the surprise pregnancy of Baio’s girlfriend, and the network’s “Hogan Knows Best” changed the focus from Hulk Hogan to daughter Brooke in “Brooke Knows Best” after Hulk and wife Linda separated.
TLC is taking a break from production of “Jon & Kate” in light of their recent divorce announcement, which drew 10.6 million viewers on June 22, in order to devise a new plan.
While producers hope that media attention will help increase the show’s visibility and appeal, some are still weary of the effects real-life events can have on a show.
"You want your shows to get attention, but you want to be able to control it. Good controversy is something that happens within the context of the show that isn’t bigger than the show itself," producer Arthur Smith of Fox’s "Hell’s Kitchen" and ABC’s "I Survived a Japanese Game Show,” tells the Reporter.