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TLC has Kate Gosselin, but does it have a show?

Only three weeks into the return of "Jon & Kate Plus 8," and TLC did not give viewers a new episode of the series Monday night -- only reruns.

Instead of a fresh episode that reflects the "reality" of this divorced mother and father that is chronicled throughout the rest of the media on a minute by minute basis, what fans get this week is another appearance of Kate doing an interview solo. That's Tonight on "Larry King Live" on CNN at 9 p.m.

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Is it starting to look like cable channel TLC has Kate, but it might not have a viable show that viewers can count on anymore? Instead of fresh episodes, what we have is Kate all over the place -- "Today" show, "Live with Regis and Kelly" and "Larry King Live" -- talking about the show.

We have had three episodes since the "hiatus" that followed the divorce announcement, and outside of Kate-lets-the-kids-sleep-out-in-tents episode, they haven't been much. Jon was barely a presence. And when he was there onscreen, he didn't seem to really be there mentally or emotionally.

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Even reality TV show cameras don't lie if they are left running long enough. Or maybe, especially reality TV cameras don't lie if they are left running long enough.

TLC knows that airing reruns is never a good way to hold or re-build an audience. Once you commit to a weekly TV ritual, it makes you unhappy when it is disrupted. But with "Jon & Kate" it is even worse, because the pre and post-separation realities are so jarringly different -- and the press reminds us of the new reality of this family's life every day.

Maybe TLC has no other choice except to try and rubber-bands-and-glue its way week to week -- and keep Kate out there on the talk show circuit acting like the show is going on.

After the camping episode, I thought the show could and would go on. Now, I'm not so sure.

How about you?


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