As Jon & Kate Head Toward Divorce, Is It Time To Back Off?

After proclaiming that the “Jon & Kate + 8” marriage scandal was single-handedly helping to bring a dying media back to life, we thought it only fitting to add our voice to the cacophony of opinions making noise after last night’s “J&K” episode revealed the couple’s plans to divorce.

While watching last night’s very special one-hour episode, we couldn’t help but agree with Kate Gosselin: the show and it’s publicity did not cause this couple’s problems. It may have sped up the process of a total break down in communication, but it also gave the family the means to survive. Maybe Jon wouldn’t have had to quit his job if he had to support the family, but he probably would have grown to resent his wife for something else instead. And without the show, Jon certainly wouldn’t have been able to afford those pretty diamond earrings he was wearing last night, not to mention the hair plugs and the exciting life he now leads. Do you think a 32-year-old, balding man with eight kids would be able to attract 20-something girlfriends without the allure of reality show fame?

Regardless of what the inner workings of Jon and Kate’s relationship might be — before or after the cameras began to capture their every move — what’s at stake is a brand and empire that they have spent the last few years building. It seems that neither one of them wants to let all that hard work go to waste, so both Jon and Kate said last night that filming of the show will continue, even as they try to figure out custody, alimony and all of those lovely things that come with the splitting of assets.

Did you watch “Jon & Kate + 8” last night?(polls)

The LA Times reported today that production for the show has gone on hiatus for a few weeks, but there are still new episodes ordered by TLC that need to be taped. According to the paper, only six of the 40-episode order have already aired.

Last night, Jon and Kate said they were going to take turns spending time with their brood in the Pennsylvania house they recently purchased. Where the adults will live outside of the house or whether cameras will follow them during the off days remains to be seen. Jon even said he might get a job offer, showing he was open to the opportunity to go back to work, although it didn’t seem like he would be looking for a new job.

What will emerge from the dust of this scandal — at least for the remaining promised episodes — might end up being a completely different “Jon & Kate + 8.” The show has the opportunity to illustrate firsthand what a family dealing with a break up looks like and what kind of challenges, anger and sadness they have to deal with. What started out as a show documenting the struggle of raising a large family full of multiples now has the ability to become something so much more.

Now that the divorce rumors have been put to rest, it’s time to let the family put the pieces back together and figure out what the new Kate plus 8 or Jon plus 8 will be. Yes, this scandal has been good for the gossip industry, providing back to back to back record breaking covers for US Weekly. But as consumers we have to remember: Even if Jon and Kate aren’t on the cover of the tabloid rags any more, we’ll still be able to watch their lives unfold every week on TLC, taped live, as it happened and with running commentary from the main players themselves.