When TLC signed on for a show about a family with 19 children, it would have been impossible for them to look a decade down the road and see where it was all going to go. They’re the network behind reality TV shows like Little People, Big World, and Dr. Pimple Popper, and Cake Boss. These aren’t the kinds of reality shows you see on E! or MTV, where arrests are par for the course. But after cancelling 19 Kids and Counting in 2015 due to issues surrounding the family’s oldest son, Josh Duggar, TLC has now cancelled the spinoff series, Counting On, following Josh Duggar’s arrest for receipt and possession of child pornography on April 30, 2021. If he is convicted, Josh Duggar faces up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 for each count.
In 2015, the original reality TV series was cancelled when it was made public knowledge that there had been allegations that Josh Duggar, at 14 years old, had molested four girls. Two of them had been his sisters, Jinger and Jill Duggar. Jinger, now Jinger Vuolo, recently wrote a book with her husband. In it, she talked about the day her father, Jim Bob, gathered the family and let them know that this long-ago trauma their family had gone through was now about to be made public. Only a few hours later, it was international news, and their series, 19 Kids and Counting, was soon cancelled. For a while, Jinger said she was living in a nightmare.
Following the April 2021 arrest of Josh Duggar for child pornography, TLC sent a statement to TODAY Parents saying the show Counting On was being cancelled. They explained, “TLC feels it is important to give the Duggar family the opportunity to address their situation privately.” While it’s unclear if the entire family agrees with this decision, Jinger (Duggar) Vuolo posted her support for the decision to cancel the reality TV series on her Instagram.
At the time of his arrest in April, reality TV star and Josh Duggard’s sister, Jill (Duggard) Dillard said the arrest was “very sad”. Meanwhile, she posted a YouTube video with her husband where they discussed other things, until a fan asked about her relationship with the rest of her family. She confessed that she hasn’t seen them in years. While she kept her comments on it polite, saying that during this season of their life seeing them isn’t easy, her husband did add that it can be very triggering seeing them.
For the many children of the Duggard family that grew up on a reality TV series, only to have their world upended when Josh Duggar’s assaults were made public in 2015, it may feel like the nightmare they went through the first time around is repeating. Growing up in the public spotlight has always been a strange experience that many report left them feeling lonely and isolated. While it may not have the decision of everyone involved, it sounds like at least some of the family will appreciate TLC cancelling the reality tv series and removing some of that spotlight.