Will '19 Kids And Counting' Be Cancelled? Josh Duggar's Sexual Abuse Allegations Make The Future Unclear — UPDATE
EDIT: On Friday, it was revealed that TLC has pulled 19 Kids and Counting from its schedule "for now." The network has yet to make an official statement on whether or not the show is cancelled for good.
By now, everyone has heard the news of the disturbing sexual molestation allegations against Josh Duggar, 27, the eldest child in the ultra-conservative family from the TLC reality show, 19 Kids and Counting. While the allegations are a lot to process on their own, eventually fans might begin to wonder something: will 19 Kids and Counting be cancelled? Josh has been accused of sexually molesting five young girls in 2002, when he was 14 years old. As shocking and appalling as these allegations are, the statute of limitations has run out on any crimes that may have taken place — meaning that no charges can be filed, and Josh will not be prosecuted. On Thursday, Josh responded to the sexual abuse allegations in a statement via People magazine, apologizing for his behavior without getting into specifics about what he's been accused of:
Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. I hurt others, including my family and close friends. I confessed this to my parents who took several steps to help me address the situation. We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing, and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling. I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life.
Most of the details Josh shares in his statement are in line with the narrative pieced together from the In Touch Weekly article that broke the news — from his parents having knowledge of some sort of situation, to being questioned by police, to receiving treatment — but Josh himself has not admitted to any sexual misconduct. Since the allegations are so serious, it begs the question — will 19 Kids and Counting be taken off the air? It's a tough question, as Josh is only one of dozens of personalities featured on the show. However, there is some precedence for such a move.
Last November, as more and more women came forward to mount rape accusations against Bill Cosby, TV Land pulled reruns of The Cosby Show, yanking it from syndication. When 7th Heaven’s Stephen Collins faced his own accusations of child molestation, TV Guide and UP TV made a similar decision to stop re-airing episodes until further notice. (In response to the allegations, Cosby’s lawyer released a statement that read, "the fact that they are being repeated does not make them true"; Collins, on the other hand, confessed to the allegations in an interview with Katie Couric, stating, “Forty years ago, I did something terribly wrong that I deeply regret. I have been working to atone for it ever since.”)
Even recently, at 19 Kids and Counting's own network, TLC, we've seen a huge moneymaker like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo get cancelled when it was revealed that June "Mama June" Shannon had given a convicted child molester access to her young children, even after one of her older daughters accused him of sexual abuse, and he'd served time for molesting another young girl. Just prior to the cancellation, Mama June had denied the allegations in a Facebook post that read:
I want to make a post trying to clear up the rumors remember you can’t believe everything you read! Ppl sell stories to the tabloid everyday that r false! It isnt true i promise my kids r #1 priority over anything else and I would never put them in danger period over this or anything else they r my life this is my past I left him 10 yrs ago for it and I wouldn’t go back.
With these examples as our precedent, regardless of the popularity of the show, the move in these cases is usually to pull it from the air. As it stands currently, TLC hasn't taken steps toward that eventuality. When we reached out for comment, TLC told Bustle they have "no comment" in regard to the allegations surrounding Josh Duggar, what the fate of the show is, and whether or not Josh will continue on 19 Kids And Counting.
Images: Getty Images; Beth Caldwell/Discovery; TLC