The second best-known family with 19 kids is getting a new show: Gil and Kelly Jo Bates are heading to UPtv for Bringing Up Bates.
From the network…
Twenty-seven years ago Gil and Kelly Jo Bates tied the knot with no plans to have kids. Fast forward 19 kids later and this tight-knit family, seemingly too good to be true, has a tremendous bond but are far from perfect. As you will see, when you have a house full of 19 children, from ages two to 25, daily chaos is multiplied exponentially, but so are the joyful and poignant moments that life can bring.
The first season premieres on New Year’s Day and promises to revolve around “ever-changing family dynamics” as oldest son Zach Bates and wife Whitney Bates prepare for the birth of their first child — who actually arrived yesterday!
“We can’t even begin to explain how overjoyed, excited, and grateful we are to be parents,” Zach, 25, and Whitney, 21, told Us Magazine in a statement about the birth of their son, Bradley Gilvin Bates. “We just can’t seem to take our eyes off of him. He has already brought so much joy into our lives, and he’s enjoying being the center of attention in the Bates family. We are thankful to the Lord for this precious gift of life!”
Beyond the developments in Zach’s life, many of the other older Bates children are experiencing “new seasons” of life…
[The Bates] foster the courtship of Michaella (24) and Brandon Keilen by allowing him to share an extended visit with the family during the holiday season; support Erin (23) and her husband Chad Paine as they face a health issue that challenges their hope of starting a family; check in on newlywed Alyssa (19) as she finds her way in Florida with new husband, John Webster, the son of a U.S. Congressman and makes a surprise announcement; encourage Tori (18) to bring order to the family schedule and step up to meet the challenges of child training as her parents have become more lax in their later years.
The super-sized Tennessee family previously starred in the TLC special The Bates Family: Baby Makes 19 in March 2012 before earning one season of their own show, United Bates of America. They’ve also appeared on a handful of 19 kids and Counting episodes with the Duggars. In addition to having 19 kids in both families, the Bates and Duggars are involved in the controversial Institute in Basic Life Principles. (Gil Bates actually serves on the board of directors.) That means the Bates adhere to many of the same practices as the Duggars: The girls only wears skirts, they don’t watch secular programs and they court instead of date — although the Bates permit full-frontal hugs before marriage “on special occasions.”
Bringing Up Bates premieres on UPtv on Jan. 1 at 9/8c.