It might be hard to believe, but things are getting even uglier as the saga of "Jon & Kate Plus 8" moves from the TV screen to the courtroom -- and, hopefully, approaches denouement. On Tuesday, I wrote about Jon Gosselin planning to countersue the Maryland-based TLC cable channel. The papers were officially filed in Montgomery County (Md.) court at the end of the week.
The suit asks $5 million in damages, and the most damning allegations involve Gosselin claiming that TLC knowingly violated child labor laws in the use of his eight children in making the show. He also claims TLC took advantage of him with its inititial contract, which paid the family of 10 only $2,000 per epsiode and locked him into a set of restrictions that denied him the right to photograph members of the family or speak about the show without TLC's permission.
"I do not believe we were paid a fair amount for the overreaching and overly restrictive contract — my family was initially paid $2,000 per episode for all 10 members of my family and the use of my family home for filming," Jon Gosselin says in his suit.
Indicative of how down and dirty the suits and countersuits are getting, and how damaged all parties could be by this nasty business, Gosselin cites an ongoing investigation of the show by Pennsylvania authorities that was started with a bootleg video clip that allegedly shows one of the program's producer refusing water to one of the Gosselin children because they were about to begin filming.
Meanwhile, the blogosphere is suddenly buzzing with tabloid allegations and denials of Jon Gosselin and cocaine use. The timing makes me suspicious of this charge -- coming as it does just as Jon takes a firmer stand in response to TLC trying to squeeze him even harder.
The series that started it all some three years ago, "Jon & Kate Plus 8," ends in two weeks. Maybe this business will come to en end -- for the sake of the kids if nothing else.