Relaymedia

'19 Kids and Counting' Cancellation: Duggar Family Release Statement, Will Appear In Upcoming Documentary About Sexual Abuse

( [email protected] ) Jul 16, 2015 04:33 PM EDT
Popular reality TV series "19 Kids and Counting" has been cancelled by TLC two months after the show was suspended in the wake of a molestation scandal involving Josh Duggar and five underage girls, including two of his sisters.
"19 Kids and Counting" aired for ten seasons on TLC, and remained one of the network's most popular shows. TLC

Popular reality TV series "19 Kids and Counting" has been cancelled by TLC two months after the show was suspended in the wake of a molestation scandal involving Josh Duggar and five underage girls, including two of his sisters.

In a statement released on Thursday morning, TLC confirmed that the Duggar family's reality show "will no longer appear on the air" after 10 seasons.

"After thoughtful consideration, TLC and the Duggar family have decided to not move forward with '19 Kids and Counting,'" the network said. "The show will no longer appear on the air. The recent attention around the Duggars has sparked a critical and important conversation about child protection."

Since 2008, the series had chronicled the family life of conservative Christian Arkansas couple Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar and their children, now numbering 19. The reality show was among TLC's most watched, averaging 3.2 million viewers.  

On May 22, TLC pulled all episodes of the popular show from the air following the revelation that 27-year-old Josh Duggar had molested five girls when he was 14 years old, including at least two of his sisters, Jill, 24, and Jessa, 22.

However, TLC announced that while "19 Kids" will no longer air, they will continue working with the Duggar family on an upcoming documentary about child sexual abuse.

"We look forward to working with TLC on this upcoming special documentary and hope that it is an encouragement to many," the Duggars family wrote in a statement posted on Facebook. "We know Who holds the future and are confident that He will work all things together for good."

For the upcoming documentary, TLC will partner with Darkness to Light, whose mission is providing interested parties with techniques for protecting children from sexual abuse, and RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), which describes itself as the nation's largest anti-sexual-violence organization.

"The goal is to take what has been a difficult and painful experience, and focus that attention on the really critical issue of child protection and child sexual abuse,"  Marjorie Kaplan, group president of TLC told the Chicago Tribune, adding that several filmmakers are under consideration for the planned documentary.

While disappointed the show has been cancelled, the Duggar family said in a statement that they are "thankful" to have had a platform to share the Gospel for so many years and to have worked with a film crew that became "like family to us."

"We are so thankful for our film crew that has shown up at our house for over a decade. They have become like family to us," the Duggars said. "Our desire in opening our home to the world is to share Bible principles that are the answers for life's problems."

The family explained they will continue to seek to honor God in their future endeavours: "We have committed to Him that in all things-difficulties or success, good times or bad-we will purpose to bring Him honor by staying true to our faith and our family."

The statement went on to acknowledge that while the molestation controversy has been "painful," the family is "pleased" with the man that Josh has grown to become and they hope to soon put the issue behind them.

"With God's grace and help Josh, our daughters and our entire family overcame a terrible situation, found healing and a way forward," they wrote. "We are so pleased with the wonderful adults they have all become.

"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."

Josh, who apologized for his past mistakes and resigned from his position as a director with Family Research Council Action after the scandal broke, did not directly address the show's cancellation, but tweeted a link to the family's statement.