Kate Plus 8 Premiere: Bring Back Jon?

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Kate Gosselin’s new TLC show, the revamped Kate Plus 8, premiered last night on TLC. As the title and scads of news reports indicate, Jon Gosselin is MIA.

For Kate, this is a good thing. For the rest of us? Debatable. No one disputes that Jon has serious d-bag qualities, but was that part of the show's appeal?

Put another way, was the palpable marital conflict of Jon and Kate Plus 8 as big a reason to tune in as the eight, titular little cuties? In a way, we say yes.

Sure, the show was cute before things went off the rails. But admit it, you wanna see Jon's girlfriend Ellen Ross meet the kids, Kate verbally castrate him, etc.

Last night, Kate Plus 8 contained some interesting revelations from Kate and the requisite kid-related humor. But there was a certain suspense missing.

Jon: Smoked

KATE PLUS 8 MINUS 1 D-BAG: Just not the same.

Kate taking her big brood to Discovery Cove in Orlando, Fla., for the sextuplets' sixth birthdays was sweet. It just seemed too ... normal and non-dysfunctional.

We'll see how long the network can ride Kate (via the new Kate Plus 8 and Twist of Kate) in a drama-free format. Some of the highlights from last night:

  • Kate calling swimming with dolphins a rite of passage, when the vast majority of parents could never afford or have a TV network arrange such a thing.
  • Bodyguard and alleged lover Steve Neild speaking out for the first time. He seems to be actively involved as her manager/protector, on platonic terms.
  • Kate revealing what has always been her biggest fear in this world: not being on TV or in the spotlight anymore having a judge take away her kids.

Did you watch Kate Plus 8? Would you consider it in its current form? Should Kate just go away for good? Follow the jump for more pics and a clip ...

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