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Image: Jon Gosselin, Kate Gosselin
Mark Arbeit  /  AP
Jon and Kate Gosselin need to step off the reality TV gravy train and work on taking their lives back.
By The Scoop
updated 5/13/2009 10:58:52 PM ET 2009-05-14T02:58:52

If attracting 4.6 million viewers in March for the season-four finale of “Jon & Kate Plus 8” doesn’t firmly place Jon and Kate Gosselin in the celebrity category, landing three out of four of the major celebrity weekly magazine covers does.

Which is why — if you’re reading, Gosselins — I’d like to welcome you to the club with the following advice. Get this season of “Jon & Kate” behind you, cash the checks, and get on with your life. Call the movers, put the reality show ZIP code in the rear view mirror and go back to being the family you were before the cameras cared. Celebrity that comes by way of reality only ends badly.

Look at Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson. Sure, they both had some modicum of success before they landed “Newlyweds” on MTV, but their celebrity proved to be stronger when they were together. If the state of your marriage is as tenuous as has been reported, then it’s possible the notion of launching “Jon & 8 Go It Alone,” or some such seems reasonable.

It’s not. Step away from that sippy cup of confidence that’s saying that you can still have the same appeal if you’re not together. Apart, you’re not the characters those 4.6 million people wanted to watch on TV.

Second, family members will sell you out, and this will only make life — together or apart — more difficult. It was the brother of the alleged mistress who gave this story legs, and a second Us Weekly cover. That kind of loose lips prevent you from ever being able to steer the ship, if you can manage to keep it afloat in the first place.

It’s not that anyone’s family is bad, per se. But human nature makes people want to talk. Levi Johnston and Bristol Palin — who might as well be a reality show — know this well. It was his sister, Mercede, who first blabbed to Star magazine, making her Patient Zero in the Johnstons’ viral media campaign to clear the family name.

Slideshow: Celebrity Sightings Consider all the shows that have launched since the unscripted genre began and count the number of people who came out on the other side with an identity beyond “that person who was once on that reality show.” I get as far as Elisabeth Hasselbeck and then I’m pretty much out of names. The longer you stay, the worse your odds of normalcy — not to mention the odds of the “Plus 8,” who don’t get much say in the matter.

Susan Boyle stepped in front of a camera and it changed her life in an instant. Even Carrie Prejean , though arguably trapped with her opinions inside the vice grip of her beauty, was probably better off before the wind blew and the cameras started rolling.

Jon and Kate, it’s been a good run, but the magic is gone. There’s still time to turn back.

Keeping tabs: People Plus Jon & Kate = great
This week, if there is one magazine that is guaranteed to sell, it’s People magazine’s Kate Gosselin cover . It’s one of three “Jon & Kate” covers out this week, but it’s by far the best. Three reasons why:

  • There’s an actual announcement: “We might split up.” It’s clear People has the story, it isn’t just chasing it.
  • The bullet points hit upon every topic viewers are curious about, Kate’s feelings, the kids, Jon getting caught, how she’ll cope.
  • The other cover elements are newsy: “Biggest Loser,” Brad Pitt’s interactions with “local moms,” and Winona Ryder. That's bang for the buck.

Courtney Hazlett delivers the Scoop Monday through Friday on msnbc.com. Follow Scoop on Twitter: @ courtneyatmsnbc.

© 2013 msnbc.com Reprints


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