"Jon and Kate Plus 8" is the reality television version of "Eight is Enough," but the stars of the show, Jon and Kate Gosselin, seem to have had enough -- of each other.
The parents of sextuplets and twin girls, tabloids allege, are cheating on each other. Jon is being linked to a 23-year-old teacher and Kate to her bodyguard. While both have denied the rumors, it's no secret to fans that that couple has been fighting.
But this alleged scandal has left some thinking, "What about the eight kids?"
Gloria Allred, an attorney and child advocate, appeared on The Early Show Thursday from Los Angeles to talk about the children's welfare as they do the show.
She told Early Show co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez the show does eliminate the children's privacy -- a sacrifice that their parents have made for financial benefit.
" ...Everybody -- including children -- should have a zone of privacy," Allred said. " ...We don't know what price these little ones are gonna pay because their lives are ... large on the television screen."
But the children, according to Allred, have some legal protection.
"Every state does regulate to protect the health, the safety and welfare of little child performers," Allred said. "And these little ones are only eight years old and five years old, they can't protect themselves, so the state has to be sure that they are safe in their workplace."
And in this case their workplace is their home -- where everyone is compensated. Some family members have begun questioning motives -- especially Kate's.
In a recent interview, Kate's brother and sister-in-law, Jodi Kreider, accused Kate of putting money ahead of the kids.
"'Jon and Kate Plus 8' is not reality," Kreider told the Web site RadarOnline. "It has turned into a huge moneymaking machine, and that is everyone's priority. ...Watching this family destruct should not be used as a form of entertainment."
But Michelle Tan, a staff writer at People magazine, said Kate does the show for the sake of her children.
"She'll continue to do the show as long as her children benefit from it," Tan said, "and as long as it never compromises their happiness."
Jon Gosselin has said that he and his wife have been "going through a lot of stuff" and have been "discussing what's best" for their kids.
Rodriguez asked Allred about safeguards on the children's money while they do the show. There are special accounts, Allred said, to stop child actors' parents or handlers from squandering their money before they come of age.
"In states like California, we have ... accounts," she said, "where money has to be set aside for the children, so that when they get to be adults, they're going to have some of their earnings."
The first episode of the fifth season of "Jon and Kate Plus 8" airs next week.
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