’19 Kids and Counting’ officially canceled

16 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

AP Exclusive: TLC cancels ‘19 Kids and Counting’.

NEW YORK (AP) — After weeks in limbo stemming from revelations of sexual misconduct by one of its stars, the TLC reality show “19 Kids and Counting” is officially dead. TLC is officially canceling 19 Kids and Counting, citing an “important conversation” that directly references the child molestation scandal swarming the extraordinarily popular – and now extremely controversial – Duggar family of the American south. TLC is not moving forward with an 11th season of “19 Kids” featuring the Duggars, whose show “will no longer appear on the air,” the network told The Associated Press on Thursday. “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. TLC will not produce any more episodes of the series, according to a person familiar with the situation, which has been off the air for several months.

The show about Christian conservative couple Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar and their many offspring aired for ten often-controversial seasons, before being pulled from the air in May after news of the allegations against Josh surfaced. The show featuring the Duggar family had been in limbo since May, after revelations that 27-year-old Josh Duggar molested five children, including four of his sisters.

The network intends to air a commercial-free one-hour special on child abuse in the fall, and has consulted with advocacy organizations like the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, in the production of the show. 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.

While TLC will no longer produce “19 Kids,” this person said, the network is open to the idea of launching a new program that could focus on some of the Duggar daughters and their families, this person said. Josh Duggar apologized for unspecified actions on a Facebook post and resigned from the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian group, where he had worked as a lobbyist. In 2014 TLC had to grapple with reports that June Shannon, one of the central figures in the popular reality series “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo,” was dating a man convicted of child molestation. While it’s hardly typical for any network to drop its biggest show, this is not the first time Kaplan has pulled the plug on a successful series suddenly caught up in scandal. TLC is in the midst of repositioning itself as “a brand with purpose,” said Kaplan, since 1997 an executive with parent Discovery Communications who took over TLC a year ago.

It premiered this week. “It’s no secret that `19 Kids and Counting’ was a really, really hit show,” said Kaplan, acknowledging the scale of that loss. “But we have some other great shows, both on the air and in the pipeline.” General Mills, Choice Hotels Intl. and Payless Shoe Source all indicated they were working to keep their ads separate from “19,” even though none of the advertisers said they were puling ads from TLC or Discovery in general.

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