With all the stories we’ve heard over the past two months about Josh Duggar molesting five girls (including four of his sisters) when he was younger — while some of them were sleeping, no less — it was somewhat surprising that the network airing his family’s show hadn’t canceled it completely. Sure, TLC stopped airing episodes of the show back in May, but would they seriously keep it going in the future?
That question has finally been answered because the network has finally decided to pull the plug for good, ending the show before its 11th season. The Associated Press has the scoop:
“We spent the past month and a half in thoughtful consideration about what is the best way forward here,” said Marjorie Kaplan, group president of TLC, Animal Planet and Velocity networks
In a move to redirect the attention and public outcry, TLC also announced it has teamed with two prominent child-protection organizations for an ongoing campaign to raise awareness about child sexual abuse.
The multi-platform initiative will begin with a one-hour, commercial-free documentary likely airing in late August, the network said. It will include the participation of Jill and Jessa Duggar, two of the sisters Josh Duggar touched inappropriately, as well as other survivors and families affected by such abuse.
This is arguably a greater punishment than anything Josh Duggar will ever receive for his crimes. (Though a lawsuit has been filed by the victim outside the family.)
The Duggars reportedly made between $25,000-$40,000 per episode (probably much more, since that estimate was made more than five years ago). The show was also the family members’ greatest megaphone for their evangelical Christian beliefs.
Given that TLC always marketed the “family values” aspect of the show, it was only a matter of time before this happened. Advertisers were slipping away and keeping the Duggars on the payroll was becoming a liability for the network.
(Portions of this article were published earlier)