Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar aren’t the focus of the new TLC series Jill & Jessa: Counting On, but the controversial couple possibly found a sneaky way to get more screentime on the show.
Us Weekly recently reported that the Duggars will be returning to TV on March 15, but TLC is not bringing 19 Kids and Counting back. Instead, the family’s new series will be a continuation of the three-part special centered on Jill and Jessa Duggar that aired last December. The first promo for the new series doesn’t show Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar at all, and the parents aren’t mentioned in TLC’s description of the series. According to the network, Jill & Jessa: Counting On will “follow the lives of the older children as they celebrate some of life’s milestone moments, including big moves, the realities of growing up and raising their own families.”
Jill & Jessa: Counting On will follow all of the Duggar children over age 18 except for Josh Duggar. Many critics and fans don’t want to see Josh back on TV because of two major scandals. Last year, In Touch Weekly obtained police reports that included detailed accounts of how Josh Duggar molested four of his younger sisters and another young girl as a teenager. A few months later, Josh was forced to confess that he had cheated on his wife after it was discovered that he had a paid Ashley Madison account.
As the Inquisitr previously reported, many critics of the Duggars also don’t want Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar back to TV. This is because of the role they played in their son’s sexual molestation scandal — even though Josh came to his parents and confessed what he was doing to his sisters on multiple different occasions, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar did not remove Josh from the household. They finally sent him away after he molested his then-5-year-old sister, but, as the Daily Mail reports, Josh Duggar was not sent to a licensed counselor. Instead, he was sent to a faith-based training center run by the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP). According to Radar Online, former IBLP leader Bill Gothard is currently being sued by numerous women who have accused him of sexual abuse.
Even though there will likely be an outcry from Duggar family critics if Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar get too much screentime on Jill & Jessa: Counting On, the Duggar parents may have larger roles on the new series than the very small parts they played in last year’s special — Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar possibly found a way to force TLC to film them.
The new Jill & Jessa: Counting On series will pick up where the three-part special left off by continuing to focus on Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard’s mission work in Central America. During the Jill & Jessa special, the missionaries were shown struggling to learn Spanish in Guatemala while caring for their baby son. However, in a recent blog post on the Dillard Family website, Derick revealed that he and Jill are now employees of S.O.S. (Seekers of Souls) Ministries and are stationed at a church in an undisclosed location. Because they were all settled in a “Hospitality House,” this made it possible for Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar to spring a surprise visit on them.
“Jill’s parents surprised us recently with an impromptu visit for a few days,” Derick wrote. “It was great to have them with us and get to show them the work the Lord is doing here.”
Because Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard are being trailed by TLC cameras, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar knew there was a chance that they would be filmed if they showed up unannounced. A surprise visit from mom and dad seems like one of the contrived storylines that the Duggars would cook up for 19 Kids and Counting, so perhaps Jim Bob and Michelle are doing what they can to make Jill & Jessa: Counting on more like their cancelled reality show.
However, it’s also possible that TLC was in on the surprise visit — the network did allow Michelle Duggar to talk about Jessa Duggar’s traumatic birth in the Jill & Jessa: Counting On special, so perhaps TLC plans on slowly reintroducing the Duggar parents to the mix on the new TV series.
Do you think Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar are desperate to get more screentime on Jill & Jessa: Counting On?
[Image via Duggar Family Official Facebook]