The Duggar family’s three-part TLC special, Jill & Jessa: Counting On, tempted curious viewers to tune in by teasing Jessa Duggar’s traumatic birth, Anna Duggar’s first comments about her husband’s cheating scandal, and Jill Duggar’s big goodbye. The special was successful enough that the Duggars were invited to film with TLC again, but how will the network get viewers to tune into a new special or TV series focused on the family without the promise of new babies, new revelations about Josh Duggar, and huge life changes like Jill’s mission trip?
Members of the Duggar family were recently spotted filming scenes with a TV camera crew in Arkansas, and Jessa Duggar was nowhere to be seen (Jill obviously couldn’t be there because she’s in Guatemala). Creating TV-worthy moments for the Duggars’ new TV show without Jessa’s pregnancy is already proving to be a rather pricey endeavor – a few members of the family were recently filmed purchasing $3,500 worth of materials to build a fancy new tree house for the Duggar children.
Last week, 26-year-old twins John David and Jana Duggar played surrogate parents to their younger siblings by bringing three younger Duggar kids and a TLC camera crew with them to Ridout Lumber in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Radar Online points out that the trip took place around the same time a TLC exec claimed that the Duggars’ future as reality show stars was uncertain.
“Poor Jana Duggar!” the site writes. “As TLC tried to hide the fact that they are still filming with the Duggars after Josh’s sex scandal, RadarOnline.com has exclusively learned that the family is back in front of the cameras but old-maid Jana is still relegated to taking care of her little brothers and sisters — even during her birthday week!”
— Inquisitr Showbiz (@IQShowbiz) December 19, 2015
As the Inquisitr previously reported, TLC might be trying to keep this Duggar family series or special a secret because the network wants to avoid the wrath of anti-Duggar groups that are petitioning companies to pull their advertising from any shows starring members of the Duggar family. TLC general manager Nancy Daniels knew that the family was already filming again when she appeared at the Television Critics Association last week, but she claimed that network execs “have not made a decision” about whether TLC will continue its working relationship with the Duggars.
There’s a chance that the Duggars’ future with TLC depends on whether or not the family does anything TV-worthy while the network’s cameras continue to follow them around. It appears as though TLC’s next series or special isn’t just going to be centered on the married Duggar daughters, and it doesn’t look like Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar will be as involved in this new show as they were with 19 Kids and Counting – they were nowhere to be seen during the shopping excursion. TLC might still be hesitant to shift focus back to the parents because of the controversial role Jim Bob and Michelle played in Josh Duggar’s sexual molestation scandal, so perhaps the network is working on a special focused on all of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar’s adult children (minus Josh, of course).
Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar might not get a lot of screen time in their family’s new TLC show, but they couldn’t resist using the Duggar Family Official Facebook page to drop a hint about the tree house construction storyline that the new show will feature. In Jana Duggar’s 26th birthday message, they revealed that Jana has “a good time using power tools to do projects.” Jim Logsdon, the manager of Ridout Lumber, also said that the eldest Duggar daughter “was really the one in charge” when the family showed up at his store.
— HollywoodLife (@HollywoodLife) December 11, 2015
Unfortunately for the Duggars, a trip to a lumber yard isn’t quite as riveting as a home birth gone wrong. According to the Ashleys Reality Roundup, Jessa Duggar’s birth episode was the highest-rated of the three Jill & Jessa: Counting On episodes, so fans of the Duggar family are either very interested in births or babies in general. There are currently no Duggar pregnancies that the family can use to score ratings, but the married Duggar daughters have turned their attention to a new way to obtain babies that would provide plenty of fodder for future episodes of a new TLC series. As People reports, Jessa and Jill Duggar have both talked about the possibility of using adoption to expand their families.
Jessa and her husband, Ben Seewald, revealed that they are so serious about adopting that they actually went to an adoption agency. However, they were told that they can’t adopt a child while they have an infant at home, so it will be a year before they can begin the adoption process in earnest. Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard didn’t seem quite as serious about adoption, only saying that they were “considering it.” As Us Weekly reports, Jill also hinted that she might get pregnant soon by teasing that she and Derick could return home from their Central America mission trip with another biological baby.
“We came to Central America as a family of three and we could go home as a family of four,” Jill said during the Jill & Jessa: Counting On finale.
Duggar family fans would likely tune in to see Jill giving birth to another baby, but this is another big life event that isn’t going to happen anytime soon. The Duggars also haven’t announced any new courtships, which would be must-see TV for fans of the family, so TLC can’t use the promise of a future wedding to get viewers to tune into a new show focused on the Duggars.
Do you think a new show focused on the Duggar family will fail because it will seem boring compared to the Counting On specials?
[Image via Duggar Family Official Facebook]