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'Jon & Kate Plus 8' Adds a New Twist: Division

By Lisa de Moraes
Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The entire celebrity suck-up industry waited breathlessly last night to hear Jon and Kate Gosselin announce that they are separating on the TLC reality series "Jon & Kate Plus 8." "We have decided to separate," Jon told the camera after endless teasing.

"I was too passive -- I let her rule the roost. . . . I went along with everything and finally stood up on my two feet and I'm proud of myself," henpecked Jon added.

"I will remain here . . . during my portion of having [the kids]. Jon will . . . come here when it is his days and we will flip-flop," Kate said. "So while I know it is going to be hard for them and it's not what I wanted, and it is very difficult, it is going to be the best and the most peaceful for them.

"We've always done the show for the kids -- to provide for them," she said. "I don't want to do this alone, but it's required and I've got to do it."

Yesterday, "Legal proceedings were initiated in Pennsylvania to dissolve the 10-year marriage of Jon and Kate Gosselin," the show stated, pretentiously, on-screen, dashing Web site Defamer's hopes for a trial separation followed by endless rounds of counseling, reconciliation, spats, etc. Because, of course, that would provide riveting TV material for weeks and weeks. Thirty-six weeks, to be exact, which is the number of episodes left in the fifth season of this TV train wreck, which set out to document the difficulty in raising eight little kids. Now, of course, it's documenting the hazard of a guy who looks like Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle dragged through a hedge backward -- the kind of guy who while running from a mugger would stop to stare at a window on which the words "Stare at This Window" had been scrawled -- marrying and having children with a tough modern thug with flashing eyes and an odd habit of wearing a dead bleached animal on her head, who has a tendency to address her husband in such a way as to cause his toes to curl up inside his shoes like the tendrils of some sensitive plant.

Various celebrity suck-up venues were reporting over the weekend that Jon was scouting for apartments in N.Y.C., and People magazine reported the Gosselins filed documents to initiate a legal split at the Bucks County Courthouse in Reading, Pa., yesterday afternoon.

Meanwhile, Life & Style reported breathlessly that Jon's longtime pal Brian Sep confirmed Jon will live "and work" in New York City during the week and stay at home with the kids in Pennsylvania on Friday, Saturday and Sunday while Kate goes elsewhere.

"He doesn't know where Kate is when he's gone [but] I think that's okay with him," Sep told Life & Style. This seems strange, given Sep had just said Kate had responsibility for the kids at home when Jon is gone -- wouldn't Jon want to know that for sure?

No celebrity suck-up vehicle was more deeply invested in last night's announcement than Us magazine, which put Jon & Kate and some of the 8 on its cover on:

May 11

May 18

May 25

June 1

June 8

June 15

And again on

June 22.

Which, an Us magazine rep confirmed, is an all-time record for Us.

"They sold better than average," the rep simpered coyly via e-mail -- yes, it can be done -- in response to a question as to how well those issues had sold.

Plus, the rep mentioned, the mag's Web site reported record traffic in May, with 6.5 million unique visitors -- Us Weekly being something of a Gosselin go-to site, what with it having broken the story that Jon was allegedly cheating on Kate.

We'll know later today if last night's announcement brought the ratings back to the show. Because while those tawdry reports of Jon's and Kate's alleged infidelities drove nearly 10 million palpitating viewers to the fifth-season debut on Memorial Day, that mob quickly lost interest, and the most recent episode clocked under 3 million viewers.

* * *

Jessica Simpson has agreed to host a VH1 reality series documenting what women around the world are willing to go through in order to live up to local standards of beauty.

The producers brought the project to Simpson, who catapulted back to fame for the fourth -- or was it fifth -- time when celebrity suck-up mags slapped up photos of her looking heftier than usual and rapper Eminem made note of her weight gain in his video for "We Made You."

VH1 says Simpson "will study the local fashions, dietary fads and beauty regimes and even participate in some of the extreme practices she discovers" in the new project.

"I have always believed that beauty comes from within and confidence will always make a woman beautiful, but I know how much pressure some women put on themselves to look perfect," Simpson said in a statement.

And what better network to take a serious look at that pressure than VH1, the network that brings you:

-- "Flavor of Love," in which, each season, the glass-crackingly homely rapper Flavor Flav wades through a batch of 20 chicks who move into his made-for-TV "crib" in order for him to decide which to select as his fave. Until next season.

-- "Rock of Love," in which Bret Michaels wades through a batch of chicks who move into his made-for-TV "rock palace" in order for him to decide which to select as his fave. Until next season.

-- And, of course, "Tough Love" -- a reality series in which men tell women what is wrong with them and why they can't get a date. In this show's very first episode, each chick who participated got to walk in front of the guy-panel so they could offer such helpful first takes as:

1. "Sexy, trashy . . . I'd love to do her -- I'm not going to date her."

2. "Kind of like an old divorcee -- beaten down."

And, our personal fave:

3. "She's got the kind of body that literally looks like she was 6 feet tall and some guy squashed her down to about 5 feet. The weight's still there, the hips are too wide -- I'd be [peeved] if I woke up next to her in the morning, let alone if that was my girlfriend."

"This is just an exercise to prove a point," the host told the girls after that was over. "You gotta realize this is what happens every time you're out and about. I don't care if you're in a bar, a grocery store, or a gym -- guys are constantly checking you out and they're constantly judging you."

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