Cable network TLC sues reality star Jon Gosselin
By Alex Dobuzinskis
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Cable television network TLC on Friday sued Jon Gosselin, the father of eight who stars in the channel's reality show "Jon & Kate Plus Eight," accusing him of violating his contract by appearing on other programs.
TLC's lawsuit filed in Maryland, where the company is based, is the latest salvo in an ongoing dispute between the cable network and Jon Gosselin, who since splitting from his wife, Kate, in June, has sought to put the brakes on the program starring his family.
"The network has been trying privately and patiently for months to get Jon to honor the contract he signed and to comply with his obligations relating to public appearances and statements," TLC said in a statement.
"Those efforts have been unsuccessful," TLC said.
TLC's lawsuit accuses Jon Gosselin of violating his contract by taking money to appear on celebrity news programs "Entertainment Tonight" and "The Insider," where he talked about problems with his estranged wife and his family.
Jon Gosselin was under a contractual agreement not to talk about the show to the media without TLC's permission, but he violated that by making "false and disparaging statements about TLC and Mrs. Gosselin," the lawsuit states.
Jon Gosselin said in a TV interview last month that he despised his estranged wife, and he later told CNN interviewer Larry King that TLC paid his family $22,500 an episode.
TLC said in the lawsuit that the network, which is a division of Discovery Communications Inc, tried to work with Jon Gosselin about his media appearances, but did not give him blanket approval to speak about the show.
Gosselin's attorney Mark Jay Heller said in a statement that his client will "vigorously defend against this baseless action" and that it will be shown that TLC "exploited, manipulated and abused the Gosselins' vulnerability and financial hardship."
The Gosselins, whose family home is in Pennsylvania, are parents of sextuplets and a pair of twins, and they have said that appearing on TV helped them provide for their kids.
"Jon & Kate Plus Eight" began in 2007, and has become one of TLC's most popular programs, attracting its highest ratings in June, when 10.6 million viewers tuned in to watch the couple announce their divorce.
The lawsuit also detailed TLC's rational for announcing last month that it would change the name of the show to "Kate Plus Eight," stating the move was motivated by Jon Gosselin's "erratic public behavior" and his contract violations.
TLC said that although Jon Gosselin would still have a role in the program, the new incarnation of the show would have focused on "Mrs. Gosselin's role as a single mother."
Now that Jon Gosselin has asked TLC to stop filming his kids, TLC said in the lawsuit, "plans to re-launch the program as 'Kate Plus Eight' have been suspended indefinitely."
In its breach of contract lawsuit against Jon Gosselin, TLC asked a judge to order him to pay unspecified damages and tell the reality star to stop violating his contract.
(Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)