Kevin Kreider, Kate's younger brother, and Kreider's wife, Jodi Kreider, told co-anchor Harry Smith they're speaking out now because they think it's high-time for laws protecting children who appear in reality shows such as TLC's Jon & Kate Plus 8." They say they want to be the "voice" of the Gosselin youngsters.
The Kreiders say they're already seeing signs of adverse effects on the Gosselins' sextuplets and twins of having TV cameras constantly capturing the lives of all Gosselin family members.
Tabloid reports claim the show is also impacting the Gosselin marriage. Both are said to be having or have had affairs. Both deny it.
All the controversy surrounding the show helped it draw record ratings Monday night for the premiere of its fifth season. Almost 10 million viewers tuned in, "good numbers for network TV, pure gold on cable," observes CBS News correspondent Michelle Gielan. "To put that in perspective, the show set a ratings record just two years ago with just under 3 millions viewers."
Kevin and Jodi were involved with the show when it started.
"We thought it was very innocent at the time," Jodi explained. "And it -- the first season started, I think, eight episodes. And it quickly turned into more and more demands of Jon and Kate from the network, and turned into 40 episodes in a six-month span. ... There were cameras in the children's bedrooms at one point. And they were filming all year-round. These were very huge concerns for us."
"We spoke to them about that. And ... their response was, 'This is our choice. This is what we want to do. Just respect that." '
"We're speaking out now," Kevin pointed out, "because we want to be the voice of our nieces and nephews. We're seeing it turn-tide, that they're being viewed as a commodity."
Jodi was more blunt. "They're being exploited," she said emphatically. "It's time for America to see the situation for what it really is, which is -- unfortunately, there no laws protecting children in reality TV shows. And it's time for the public to be aware of this. And that these -- these children are very aware of the cameras in their homes. Their home is their workplace. And this is not a healthy environment for kids to be raised in."
" ... There are effects already being -- you know, signs already. ... They don't want the cameras around. They have told me personally. ... We watched them quite a bit about a year ago and further back. They would say, 'Aunt Jodi, I don't like the cameras on every vacation with us. I don't like them -- and, too, you know, kids have bad times, bad moments, they cry -- and having the camera zoom in on a crying child, I mean, this is just -- this should not be a form of entertainment."
Kevin noted that, "I do talk to Kate and Jon. We haven't seen the kids in awhile, which is hard. ... Our relationship has definitely been strained now. What we hope is that they will kind of come around, see the effects, see what's most important."
"They're very lost right now," Jodi asserted. "They're very blinded by all of this media and this -- you know, the fame and the fortune. ... Unfortunately, I think it has come down to (being) all about the ratings. And no one is looking at these children as (to) what they are going through and the life consequences they are going to have as they get older."