Are the Gosselins more compelling than the Heenes?
TLC thought so.
The cable network that airs Jon and Kate Plus Eight passed on a reality show centered around the family -- currently making headlines over the short but frantic disappearance of Falcon, 6, after the accidental launch of a home-made helium balloon.
TMZ reports that Richard Heene unsuccessfully shopped around a show starring his quirky family to TV production companies as well as several networks, including TLC. A rep for TLC confirms to Usmagazine.com, "They approached us months ago and we passed."
Featured in an episode of Wife Swap, the Heenes -- parents Richard and Mayumi plus Falcon and brothers Bradford, 8, and Rayo, 7 -- are described as "science-obsessed" and "storm-chasing" on ABC's site.
"They devote their time to scientific experiments that include looking for extraterrestrials," their bio reads, "and building a research-gathering flying saucer to send into the eye of the storm."
After young Falcon was found safe and hiding in his family's attic yesterday, Fort Collins, Colorado Sheriff Jim Alderden said it was "inconceivable" that the boy had been coached by his parents, and that the incident was a "real event."
In a live interview with CNN this morning, Falcon said "we did this for a show." His father later retorted to NBC's Meredith Viera, "I am not selling anything. I am not advertising anything."