After waiting months for the controversy over Josh Duggar‘s molestation scandal to die-down, TLC has finally faced the inevitable and canceled 19 Kids and Counting.
The network was reportedly hoping that viewer fascination with the Duggar brood and the popularity of eldest girls Jana, Jill and Jessa was enough to salvage the already controversial show, but the fallout from the discovery that Josh molested his sisters and other girls as a teen refused to die-down. In fact it seemed to be exacerbated by Josh’s wife Anna’s fourth pregnancy and the Duggar family’s refusal to really confront the situation honestly or to treat their daughters as victims.
Today the network finally announced that the Duggars would no longer be returning to TV. This morning a network representative informed the Associated Press that the Duggars “will no longer appear on the air.”
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The Duggars also released their own family statement through their website confirming the cancelation and thanking the network and viewers. Calling the reality show and subsequent enterprise they’ve built a “gift from God” they thank the film crew who has “become like family” to them in the 10-years they’ve spent on reality TV, first as a documentary, then as a series.
The statement continues:
“Over the last several years people have said to us, ‘We love your show!’ We have always responded, ‘It’s not a show, it’s our lives!’ Our desire in opening our home to the world is to share Bible principles that are the answers for life’s problems.
With God’s grace and help Josh, our daughters and our entire family overcame a terrible situation, found healing and a way forward. We are so pleased with the wonderful adults they have all become.
It is our prayer that the painful situation our family went through many years ago can point people toward faith in God and help others who also have lived through similar dark situations to find help, hope and healing, as well.”
The Duggars also hinted that they will partake in one final farewell special via the network in which they will address the family controversy and recap their time on reality TV. “We look forward to working with TLC on this upcoming special documentary and hope that it is an encouragement to many,” they concluded in their statement.
The family has retained a large conservative fanbase despite the atrocious happenings and a source tells People that Jim Bob and Michelle were “devastated” when the situation was made public. The source also claims that the parents believed they handled it in the best way possible and are “filled with regret.”
Presently the Duggar family, which just shipped Jill and husband Derek off to do missionary work, has no plans for another reality show. According to a family insider, “They’re just focused on their faith – and each other.”
This has been a tumultuous year for TLC who built their reality TV empire on showcasing unorthodox family lifestyles. Last year they canceled Here Comes Honey Boo Boo after it emerged that family matriarch Mama June had secretly resumed a relationship wit the man who spent a decade in prison for molesting her eldest daughter.
A few months later, long-hidden proof emerged that Josh Duggar sexually assaulted his sisters and was made public with the discovery of buried police reports. Previously TLC has incurred scandals with Jon and Kate Plus 8 and Sister Wives. Wonder if this will be a wakeup call to the network to rethink the direction of their programming?
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[Photo Credit: TLC]