If there’s one thing that America loves without fail, it’s a reality television family whose members' lives we can obsessively follow. In the late 2000s, one of those families was the Gosselins of Jon & Kate Plus 8. The couple used IVF to conceive a third child and ended up with sextuplets, making them a big, loving family of ten... until, of course, Jon and Kate’s marriage fell apart on screen.
With Jon and Kate divorced, it obviously didn’t make much sense to continue with the show’s current format of following the happy family navigating life with eight small children. TLC quickly announced that two new shows were in development in 2010. One of them, Kate Plus 8, would continue following the Gosselin children as they grew up. The other, Twist of Kate, would feature Kate touring the country and talking to different parents.
Never heard of Twist of Kate? There’s a reason for that. A ton of behind-the-scenes drama meant that the show never got off of the ground, and instead, TLC just brings back Kate Plus 8 every once in awhile to check in on the now teenage Gosselin kids.
We’ve detailed some of that drama here -- read on for the 15 Secrets You Never Knew About Twist of Kate.
15 Rumors swirled that the show was canceled just months after it was announced
Jon and Kate’s divorce was finalized in 2009, though it had been revealed before that they had been technically separated and were putting on a happy face for the show. Since one of the hallmarks of the show had been its authenticity, this didn’t exactly sit well with viewers.
TLC saw a loss of money on the horizon, and the last episode of Jon & Kate Plus 8 aired on November 23, 2009. The network quickly announced Kate Plus 8 and Twist of Kate, and Kate Plus 8 aired its first episode in June 2010. Soon after Kate Plus 8’s premiere, though, Life and Style magazine reported that Kate’s solo show had been canceled.
TLC responded and said that neither show had been canceled, giving a date for the next episode of Kate Plus 8... but notably didn’t mention any dates for Twist of Kate.
14 Ratings for Jon & Kate Plus 8 tanked as Twist of Kate was in development
It’s hard to overstate just how popular the Gosselin family was. Unlike a lot of other reality shows that were on the air in 2007 (looking at you, Kardashians and Jersey Shore), Jon & Kate Plus 8 espoused family values and was clearly unscripted. The kids were super cute and the parents were relatable.
At its peak, Jon & Kate Plus 8 drew in over ten million viewers on just one episode. (For context, that’s three times as many people who watched the series finale of Mad Men.) After news of the couple’s split hit tabloids, though, those numbers tanked. Viewers started dropping off during the last season of Jon and Kate, and by the time Kate Plus 8 began airing, ratings were down to about 1.3 million viewers.
It’s not a stretch to assume the ratings were part of why Twist of Kate was scratched from the production lineup.
13 Kate's time on Dancing With The Stars was used as evidence in Jon’s custody suit
Kate was obviously the more media-savvy of the two, and she wasn’t about to relinquish the spotlight she’d gained from reality TV fame. After her first show ended, she decided to become a contestant on the 2010 Dancing With The Stars. It was a good way to keep her name in the headlines, and hopefully drum up some buzz for both of her new shows in development.
Unfortunately, it backfired on her. All of her performances were panned by the judges, and her partner said she was impossible to work with. On top of that, Jon said that her dancing ambitions were damaging their kids, and went to court to ask for primary physical custody.
He was unsuccessful, but it was definitely an added controversy.
12 The cops were called to the Gosselin house after Jon and Kate got into a fight in 2009
The Gosselins are no strangers to controversy. Even before the show ended, the fights between Jon and Kate had become so bad that the cops were even called once.
In August 2009, eastern Pennsylvania police reported that they’d been called to the Gosselin house to respond to a domestic disturbance. They didn’t make any arrests or issue a citation, but the story was still picked up by local and national news outlets. Jon said that a shouting match ignited over visitation rights and who he chose to babysit the kids.
Rumors were starting to pick up that Jon was sleeping with one of the nannies. On the day of the fight, Kate apparently showed up unexpectedly to confront him about it.
11 Jon tried to halt divorce proceedings to take his kids off of TV
Between the two spouses, Jon always seemed to be more uncomfortable with the family’s new status in the public eye. Even on the show, Kate was usually the one making plans and wrangling the kids on camera, while Jon mostly stayed in the background. After all, what was supposed to originally just be a documentary special had snowballed into a huge series -- this could throw anyone off.
This might be why he even tried to stop divorce proceedings in order to take all eight children off of television and any shows that Kate had in development, including Twist of Kate. He didn’t think that the exposure was good for their development and was willing to put the divorce on hold if it meant giving the kids a normal life again. Obviously, this plan didn’t work.
10 Kate was investigated for violating child labor laws
Even without Twist of Kate, the Gosselins still filmed a lot of episodes. The sheer volume of content available raised a lot of eyebrows. After all, even if the show was supposed to be the family going about their normal lives, a camera crew had to disrupt the kids’ lives a little bit.
In another blow to any potential new shows in development, in May 2009 people started asking if the show was exploiting the kids or putting them under too much emotional distress.
Eventually, it wasn’t just questions anymore. Even Gloria Allred went on record as saying it violated the kids’ privacy. Pennsylvania labor officials even had to step into investigate to make sure they weren’t violating child labor laws.
TLC said that they were compliant with all laws, but it was a PR nightmare.
9 Kate has been plagued by accusations of cheating with her married bodyguard
Jon wasn’t the only one accused of cheating during the turbulent period when TLC was trying to get Twist of Kate off the ground. When tabloids got sick of taking pictures of Jon with a twenty-three year old babysitter, they turned their attention to Kate. Soon, accusations started flying that she was cheating with her married bodyguard.
Of course, there was a good reason that they were seen together so often: he was her bodyguard. However, that didn’t stop multiple outlets from running with the story, and whether it was true or not, it quickly became true for a lot of readers. The story has even continued into 2016 and 2017, even though the Gosselins aren’t on TV as often anymore.
8 Kate cut off people who helped her before she was famous
It can be hard for a family of four to make ends meet depending on where you live and what the parents’ occupations are. If it’s that hard for four people, how does a family of ten make it work?
Well, before the reality TV money, the Gosselins got by with the help of donations from a local church. A lot of the women in the parish were kind enough to help out by cooking meals, donating clothes, and giving Kate a hand around the house.
In thanks, though, Kate seems to have cut them out of her life completely as she gained fame. Her brother reported in an interview that she doesn’t speak to anyone at that church anymore, even though they don’t live far away. Maybe she was too hasty, since Twist of Kate ended up being canceled.
7 Kate allegedly dated millionaire Jeff Prescott
If ratings were why Twist of Kate was canceled, Kate likely knew that she had to create some public interest in her life in order to stay on television screens. With the divorce and cheating drama behind her, she eventually started appearing in public with millionaire Jeff Prescott. Predictably, people started saying that they were dating.
Right before he was supposed to appear on Kate Plus 8, though, Prescott broke off the relationship. In response, Kate took to Twitter to say they had never been dating in the first place, and that you have to have been in a relationship to end one. Prescott has a different story, though -- he says that Kate was already planning a spinoff show for the two of them and he wanted no part of it.
6 Rumors flew that Kate was angling for a spot on The Bachelorette in 2011
With the millionaire relationship off the table and the eventual cancellation of even Kate Plus 8, Kate had to set her sights elsewhere. A few joking fans suggested that she set her sights on a different super successful reality franchise -- The Bachelorette.
She seemed to go along with the jokes on Twitter, and then the rumors started flying. We’ve got to give it to her, it definitely would have been... interesting watching that version of the show.
Obviously, that didn’t pan out, and she did not become the 2011 Bachelorette. However, the news got all the way to the show’s creator. He suggested to Entertainment Weekly that she go for Bachelor Pad or H8R, where anti-fans talk to celebrities they hate. Yikes.
5 Kate’s own brother testified against her in court
Okay, so maybe Kate was losing the support of the public and TLC. At least she had her family, right? Well... no, not exactly.
In the investigation about the Gosselins’ various television shows violating child labor laws, Kate’s own brother and sister-in-law testified against her. He and his wife said that the show could be causing psychological damage to the children, claiming that the show confused the little kids by staging things like Christmas Day and potty training them when the parents weren’t present.
Plus, her sister said back in 2014 that Kate hadn’t spoken to them in six years and had cut people out of her life who were critical of her reality television ambitions. Kate was still trying to figure out a new show with no Twist of Kate or Kate Plus 8, and her family disapproved.
4 Sarah Palin’s father said that Kate “b****ed” when they worked together
You might not remember since it was pretty short-lived, but after the unsuccessful McCain/Palin 2008 presidential campaign, Sarah Palin got her own TV show on TLC. It was called Sarah Palin’s Alaska, and it was basically just Palin being herself and taking the cameras on a tour of Alaska.
TLC apparently thought it’d be a great idea to bring two viewer favorites together, and the Gosselin clan flew to Alaska for a special episode. The kids had fun, but Palin’s father was not impressed with Kate.
He said that she “b****ed” from the second she got off the plane, some of which was recorded for the show. If she was trying to use that as proof that she could carry a new show, it didn’t work well for her.
3 Kate filed a police report accusing Jon of kidnapping their daughter
In 2014, Kate filed a police report accusing Jon of kidnapping their daughter Hannah and dealing drugs. Those are super serious accusations to throw at anyone, let alone your ex-husband and the father of your kids.
She apparently called the police five times in three days, and representatives for Jon said he had no idea Kate even had any worries before the report was filed. They went to court, where there was zero evidence found for any of Kate’s claims.
The arguments haven’t stopped, though -- just this past August, police were called again because Jon and Kate had a custody argument over Hannah in a public place. Hannah chose to go home with her dad and Kate was not happy.
2 Jon says he doesn’t know where Collin is and isn’t allowed to see him
Hannah isn’t the only kid that the Gosselins have kept fighting over. Collin, one of the sextuplets, apparently has special needs. In the fall of 2016, Jon said that Kate had been keeping Collin from him and that he didn’t know where he was. Kate then revealed in an interview with ABC News that her son was at a special treatment facility where he could get the help that he needed.
When pressed about Jon’s claims, Kate shrugged it off and said that the whole world didn’t need to know where her son was, implying that Jon was included in that number. After a letter to her son started making the rounds on the Internet, though, people started questioning her motives for sending Collin away.
It’s probably a good thing that cameras aren’t constantly rolling in that house anymore.
1 CPS investigated Kate as late as November 2016 for alleged child abuse
The final behind-the-scenes tidbit, and probably the saddest of them all, is also related to Collin. In late November 2016, not long before Kate’s appearance on ABC News, CPS investigated Kate for alleged child abuse.
Apparently, Collin had reported abuse at his treatment center, which was then reported to the authorities. Kate called the reports “unfounded” and said that she’d been investigated by the authorities many times with no results. No one knows what happens in their family but them, but being investigated many times is probably not something you want to talk about so casually.
Kate Plus 8 still returns occasionally for specials, and now that all of the kids are teenagers, TLC will probably want to check in every once in awhile so viewers can see how they’ve grown.
However, from everything that’s happened over the past decade, it’s probably a good thing that Twist of Kate, at least, never reached our TV screens.
Do you know of any other interesting facts about Twist of Kate? Let us know in the comments.