Gosselin Kin Cite "Balloon Boy" Saga

In this file publicity image released by TLC, reality TV stars, Jon Gosselin, left, and his wife Kate Gosselin, from the TLC series, "Jon & Kate Plus 8," are shown. (AP Photo/TLC, Karen Alquist, File) ** NO SALES ** AP Photo/TLC, Karen Alquist

The "balloon boy" incident shows the potential for the exploitation of kids by their own parents in the world of reality TV, according to Kate Gosselin's brother and his wife, and a well-known lawyer who's a leading child welfare advocate.

They're in the vanguard of a drive for federal laws to shield kids from such exploitation.

Kevin Kreider and his wife, Jodi Kreider, and attorney Gloria Allred agreed on "The Early Show" Tuesday that what allegedly happened with "balloon boy" Falcon Heene helps their cause.

Earlier this month, cameras followed a balloon as it drifted 50 miles across northern Colorado with, it was thought, six-year-old Falcon along for the ride. Then it was feared he might have fallen out, when the balloon landed without him. It turned out he was hiding in the attic of his family's house.

His parents had called 911 to alert authorities to Falcon's potential flight plight. Later, it came to light the whole thing may have been a hoax, which the parents deny. Larimer County, Colo. Sheriff Jim Alderden says he's recommending criminal charges against them and is asking that child protective services investigate the family's children's well-being.

Observers feel the Keenes may have been jockeying to get a reality show and the entire balloon story was a publicity stunt.

The hit TLC reality show "Jon & Kate Plus Eight" chronicled the lives of Jon and Kate Gosselin and their eight kids. But the couple filed for divorce in June after weeks of reports of marital discord and infidelity by both, which they both denied.

The divorce battle has turned bitter.

Kate and Jon have been in-and-out of court. On Monday, Jon returned $180,000 he'd withdrawn from the couple's joint bank account after Kate said she couldn't pay her bills.

TLC is mulling a new reality show, sans Jon but with Kate and the eight kids. It would be called "Kate Plus Eight" and feature her as a single Mom raising her kids without their father. TLC has postponed the launch, after Jon obtained a court order barring the network from filming the kids.

Jon told CNN's "Larry King Live" he doesn't "think it's healthy for them, and the reason I don't think it's healthy for them is because we're going through a divorce."

Monday night, Kate answered viewer questions during an hour-long special called "You Asked, Kate Answers," which industry insiders see as part of TLC's testing the waters for "Kate Plus Eight."

During Monday's special, Kate admitted, "I don't want to be alone. The aloneness is so alone."

But on the topic of the new show, Kate disagrees with Jon, saying the children aren't "suffering from this. It's in no way harmful for the kids. They wouldn't be on it if it was."

Kevin and Jodi Kreider recently reconciled with Jon, from whom they'd been estranged, and visited the Gosselin youngsters this weekend for the first time in over a year.

They say the Gosselin kids "haven't missed a beat," but the Kreiders say they still staunchly oppose any new reality show with those kids in it.

They and Allred explained on "The Early Show" Tuesday that there's no federal law protecting kids in realty shows -- only a patchwork quilt of laws in various states -- and they made the case for such a federal law.

Jodi Kreider told co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez the Keene story "makes it very clear that parents and people will do whatever they can do get on a reality show, kind of thinking that's a great way for quick fame."

"Without the concern for their children," Kevin interjected.

"The children's interests are so often different," Allred said, "than the interests of their parents, and that's why they need special proections, and that's what we intend to win for them."


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