TLC has finally come to a decision about the future of "19 Kids and Counting." The show's fate has been hanging in the balance since May when published reports alleged that star Josh Duggar had molested several young girls between 2002 and 2003. Both the network and the Duggar family have addressed the decision in separate statements.
According to the Associated Press, the network will cancel the show. TLC said the popular series, which followed the daily lives of Jim Bob Duggar, Michelle Duggar, their 19 children and various grandchildren "will no longer appear on the air." The group president of TLC, Marjorie Kaplan, released an official statement on the matter, saying they have decided this is "the best way forward."
Please read our family statement regarding our TLC show: http://t.co/TWgeqhmWDm
— The Duggar Family (@duggarfam) July 16, 2015
The Duggars released a statement of their own on their family website. In it they thanked the film crew, whom they said “have become family,” as well as their loyal fans who have given nothing but “love, support, prayers and kindness.” The family also briefly addressed the scandal surrounding Josh, the eldest of the Duggar children, saying they were “pleased” with the progress they had made in moving past the abuse.
“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 statement read. “God’s faithfulness and goodness to us, along with His abundant grace have given us strength and joy even in the most difficult days.”
TLC has announced it will team up with two different child-protection organizations to launch an ongoing campaign to create awareness about adolescent sexual abuse. Through this partnership TLC and the child-advocacy groups have created an hourlong, commercial-free documentary to air later this summer. This project will feature both Jill Dillard and Jessa Seewald, who have come forward about being abused by their brother in the past. In her statement Kaplan said she hopes this partnership will be "long-term."
"We took it as an opportunity to step further than just, 'How do we protect ourselves?' and step into 'How do we protect our audience and protect children?'" she said. "Our hope is to do more of that, in a way that's thoughtful and respectful of the victims of child abuse -- in the Duggar family and across America."
It was previously reported that Josh, now 27, had molested a handful of younger girls when he was 14 years old. Immediately after the story hit the Internet angry Twitter users called for "19 Kids" to be taken off the air. The network did not immediately respond to the demands of their viewers. Days after the scandal broke TLC announced that they would no longer be showing reruns of the series.