TLC has cancelled the reality hit 19 Kids & Counting, the Associated Press has learned, nearly two months after eldest son Josh Duggar’s admission that, as a teenager, he sexually molested underage girls — allegedly including some of his sisters.
The show, which premiered in 2008 as 17 Kids & Counting and wrapped its ninth season in May, follows Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar and their enormous brood — all of whose names begin with the letter ‘J’ — as they’re raised in the Independent Baptist faith.
Controversy erupted in mid-May when InTouch Weekly published a 2006 police report investigating allegations that Josh Duggar forcibly fondled several girls — and that his parents waited more than a year to report the abuse to authorities.
Days later, TLC — which at one time was an abbreviation for “The Learning Channel” — pulled the show from its schedule, saying, “We are deeply saddened and troubled by this heartbreaking situation, and our thoughts and prayers are with the family and victims at this difficult time.”
At that time, a TVLine poll found that more than 80 percent of readers believed TLC should pull the plug on the show.
Following InTouch‘s report, the now 27-year-old Josh released a statement which read in part: “Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably, for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. I hurt others, including my family and close friends. We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing, and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling.
Did TLC (finally) make the right call?