TLC has made it official. It is canceling “19 Kids and Counting,” the reality show that propelled the Duggar family of Arkansas to fame and fortune until In Touch Weekly broke the story about sex abuse within the Duggars’ home. The show has been off the air since shortly after the story broke.
The show ran 10 seasons.
In announcing the cancellation, TLC acknowledged the subject that underlies the decision. It announced a campaign to raise awareness about child sexual abuse and said it would broadcast a one-hour, commercial-free documentary later this summer.
Given the drama involving reports that Josh Duggar molested girls in the household, both family and non-family, and reports to authorities were delayed, few expected TLC to revive the show. The family’s primary defenders have been Arkansas legislators from the conservative Christian Republican bloc in Northwest Arkansas. They’ve painted the family as victims for disclosure of the affair. A judicial discipline investigation continues of Judge Stacy Zimmerman, who took extraordinary steps to wipe the public record of police reports that revealed key elements of the story.
Christianity Today illustrates why the story wasn’t likely to go away soon.
According to In Touch Weekly, Josh and the rest of his family, particularly his parents Jim Bob and Michelle, will have to provide their dispositions and testify in front of the court regarding the molestation charges. It means that they have to provide the answers to all inquiry regarding the case since they will not be able to use their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination since the criminal statute of limitations had already expired.
A source also told the publication that all the church officials who allegedly knew about Josh’s case will also have to come forward to answer in court.
Some of the possible questions that the Duggars have to face include the number of years of counseling that Josh and his victims went through and how their parents made sure that the girls were protected from another molestation act since the time that they learned about it.
Here’s the TLC statement:
After thoughtful consideration, TLC and the Duggar family have decided to not move forward with 19 Kids and Counting. The show will no longer appear on the air.
The recent attention around the Duggars has sparked a critical and important conversation about child protection.
Over these past weeks, TLC has consulted regularly with leading victims’ rights and advocacy organizations in the U.S., including RAINN and Darkness to Light, to discuss how to use this moment to address the issue and make a positive impact. Unfortunately, child sexual abuse is not an isolated issue; it affects many children and families around the world. To that end, we are partnering with both organizations on a multi-platform campaign to raise awareness and educate parents and families about the issue. In the first phase of this initiative, TLC will work closely with both groups and with the Duggar family on a one-hour documentary that will include Jill and Jessa and other survivors and families that have been affected by abuse.
TLC has been especially concerned for the victims in this situation, including the Duggar family, and it is our hope that this effort will help those in need learn where to turn for information and help. The documentary will be commercial free, and we anticipate it will air later this summer
Here’s the Duggars’ statement, on Michelle’s blog. In part:
We know Who holds the future and are confident that He will work all things together for good.