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Season 5 of ‘Jon & Kate Plus 8’
Everett Collection

Originally airing on Discovery Health before moving to TLC, Jon & Kate Plus 8 followed the lives of then-married couple Kate and Jon Gosselin and their eight children as they went about their lives in Pennsylvania. The show marked one of the first times a mainstream audience was introduced to a family unit that looked different from most—the Gosselins were parents to a set of twins and a set of sextuplets—and it laid the path for future series like 17 Kids & Counting and Table for 12. After Jon & Kate Plus 8 launched in 2007, becoming one of TLC’s highest-rated programs, the couple at its center became a point of gossipy fascination. No season of the show proved the Gosselins’ chokehold on tabloid news more than its fifth and final one, which premiered in 2009 and set ratings records after Jon Gosselin was accused of infidelity. The pair’s troubled marriage, which eventually ended in divorce in 2009, brought in millions of viewers who could not resist seeing what would happen to the family that had fascinated them for years. —Mariah Espada

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