I'm discussing the latest in the Octomom saga this week over at Child Caring. Nadya Suleman, who in January gave birth to the world's longest-surviving set of octuplets, has agreed to have all 14 of her children star in a reality TV show.
According to the contracts with European production company Eyeworks, which are still waiting for a judge's approval, the deal will earn each child $250 a day for filming of the show over the course of three years. Filming is slated to start Sept. 1, though there's no word yet about which network will run it.
The kids, who are all younger than 8 years old, don't stand to make a bundle -- only about $250,000 all together. But they won't be working many days or long hours, either -- the first year of the show calls for just 36 days of shooting, with 21 and 14 days in the second and third years, according to the Associated Press story. Eyeworks is the company behind such gems as "Breaking Bonaduce" and "The Biggest Loser."
While I'm no fan of reality TV shows, especially ones involving kids, I kind of feel sorry for this woman. There's no point in debating whether she should or shouldn't have had the kids; they're here now, and need to be cared for. And Suleman just can't win: When she was using food stamps and state aid, she got slammed for relying on the taxpayers to take care of her kids. When, in February, she told Ann Curry on The Today Show that she would provide for her children "probably just with the student loans," there was a huge outcry. Now, she's providing fodder for reality TV, and there's speculation that maybe stardom is the real reason why she had so many kids to begin with (after all, she has said before that she was hoping for a multimillion-dollar TV deal).
But, on the other hand: She's already facing legal action over a video of her kids she allowed to be shot for a website. (That hearing started today.) Her own mom said in an interview that "The truth is Nadya's not capable of raising 14 children." And a few months ago, she fired the nurses who were providing her with free help and nanny training, claiming that the they were spying on her.
Now, with this new reality show, she'll be letting the whole world take a look. It's difficult to reserve judgement when she's the one who keeps putting herself -- and her kids -- in the public eye.