'19 Kids And Counting' Canceled By TLC

In news that's been somewhat expected since allegations surfaced accusing Josh Duggar of sexual abuse, TLC has canceled 19 Kids and Counting. On Friday, May 22, Deadline reported that TLC pulled the Duggar family's reality TV show from its schedule, but an official cancellation wasn't announced until Thursday, July 16. 19 Kids and Counting wrapped its ninth season on Tuesday, but it looks like the once-beloved family show is now kaput. TLC posted a statement to the official 19 Kids and Counting Facebook page on Thursday, which read:

After thoughtful consideration, TLC and the Duggar family have decided to not move forward with 19 Kids and Counting. 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.

Over these past weeks, TLC has consulted regularly with leading victims' rights and advocacy organizations in the U.S., including RAINN and Darkness to Light, to discuss how to use this moment to address the issue and make a positive impact. Unfortunately, child sexual abuse is not an isolated issue; it affects many children and families around the world. To that end, we are partnering with both organizations on a multi-platform campaign to raise awareness and educate parents and families about the issue. In the first phase of this initiative, TLC will work closely with both groups and with the Duggar family on a one-hour documentary that will include Jill and Jessa and other survivors and families that have been affected by abuse.

TLC has been especially concerned for the victims in this situation, including the Duggar family, and it is our hope that this effort will help those in need learn where to turn for information and help. The documentary will be commercial free, and we anticipate it will air later this summer.

Josh Duggar, along with his parents, Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar, and his wife Anna, responded to the sexual abuse claims via statements released to People not long after the initial news broke. Josh said in response to the allegations brought to light by InTouch Weekly,

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.

As for Jim Bob and Michelle, they told People, "Back 12 years ago, our family went through one of the most difficult times of our lives. When Josh was a young teenager, he made some very bad mistakes, and we were shocked. We had tried to teach him right from wrong. That dark and difficult time caused us to seek God like never before."

Initially, InTouch published a report they obtained from the Springdale, AR Police Department that brought the past sexual abuse allegations against Josh to public attention. Reportedly, Josh was accused of sexually molesting five female minors while he was a minor. According to InTouch, Josh was 14 years old at the time of the first incident, which took place in 2002.

Image: TLC