If you thought the Duggars were the ones who lost big when TLC canceled "19 Kids and Counting," think again. TLC announced that it would no longer be airing new episodes of the Duggar family's reality series, following reports that Josh Duggar had molested several young girls at the age of 14. Unfortunately, it seems the decision has cost the network big bucks.
TV Insider reports that Discovery, TLC's parent company, has taken a multimillion-dollar loss since the "19 Kids" cancellation — $19 million, to be precise. The site claims that, during the network's post-earnings conference call held early Wednesday, Chief Financial Officer Andrew Warren revealed that the major loss of money was "primarily due to content impairment charges" from canceling the series. The site added that the network's financial loss may actually exceed the initial $5 million loss reported by Warren.
"19 Kids" was canceled on July 16 after much outcry from viewers and organizations like UltraViolet, which started a petition demanding the show be yanked immediately. News of the show's cancellation came six weeks after initial reports of sexual misconduct by Josh, now 27, with minors. Group president of TLC, Marjorie Kaplan, told the Associated Press in a statement that in lieu of "19 Kids" being discontinued, they had decided to partner with Darkness to Light and RAINN, two prominent organizations dedicated to bringing awareness to the issue of child sexual abuse. As part of that partnership, they will be airing an hour-long documentary featuring testimonies from survivors of sexual abuse, including two of Josh's sisters, Jill Dillard and Jessa Seewald.
Both girls have come forward as their brother's victims, but they have continued to stand by his side. In June, appearing in their first interview after news of the scandal broke, Dillard, 24, and Seewald, 22, told Fox New's Megyn Kelly, of "The Kelly File," their brother was simply young and misguided. They claimed Josh was just "a little too curious" about the opposite gender noting that neither had even known the touching occurred until his admission of guilt. Both sisters agreed that the incidents were "minor," but nonetheless "inappropriate." This interview echoed an earlier interview on the same show featuring Josh's parents, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar.
The fundamentalist Christian parents outlined for Kelly how they handled the incidents, revealing that after discovering Josh had touched a younger member of the family, they had him removed from the home temporarily. He is said to have attended a Christian-based treatment camp, at which he was forced to partake in physical labor. They also shared with viewers that they had implemented several new boundaries around their home to ensure an incident like that never occurred again.
Neither TLC nor its parent company, Discovery, has announced when the network's sexual abuse documentary will be air.