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TLC pulls, doesn’t cancel, 19 Kids and Counting

TLC has pulled 19 Kids and Counting off its schedule but not cancelled the series after its stars, the Duggars, admitted their oldest son, Josh, molested younger girls when he was a teenager. When the family learned of it, they did not go to authorities.

TLCWhen TLC learned of it, presumably yesterday with the rest of the world, they went ahead and aired a marathon of episodes last night. Only today did they pull the show. Will it eventually be cancelled and remain off the schedule forever? Or will TLC just wait for this to go away and bring it back?

Here’s what TLC said in a statement late Friday, sometime after General Mills said it was pulling all its ads:

“Effective immediately, TLC has pulled all episodes of 19 Kids and Counting currently from the air. We are deeply saddened and troubled by this heartbreaking situation, and our thoughts and prayers are with the family and victims at this difficult time.”

19 Kids is not cancelled

The show has been removed from TLC’s press web site–so media cannot download additional photos of the family to illustrate stories about this–but is still on the network’s web site, which includes the above statement. Full episodes are also on the web site.

The series is most definitely not cancelled right now. A TLC executive told CNN’s Brian Stelter that it’s just shelved for now. The person also said, “This is a family in crisis. It’s no time for a television show.”

What is the crisis, though? Yes, since some of the victims are Josh’s sisters, they need support and care. But beyond that, the crisis seems to be that this news has come to light, since the family has known about it for more than a decade, and chose to bury it. Their unimaginable hypocrisy has also created a crisis.

And it’s also a crisis for TLC, which explains the network’s paralysis for more than a day. The show was highlighted at TLC’s pitch to advertisers during the upfronts, and the show’s most-recent season premiere was its highest-rated premiere yet.

The truth is that as many kids as the Duggars churn out, they’re even better at producing cash for TLC and its parent company, Discovery Communications. And that’s a hard cord to cut, even when it seems like the obvious and right thing to do.

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  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means.


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