Jessa Duggar and her husband, Ben Seewald, are excited for two reasons. First, they’re expecting a baby in early November. And second, despite the shadow cast by her brother Josh Duggar and his scandals, Jessa will be starring along with her sister Jill in an upcoming series of specials on TLC. Both of the Duggar girls have expressed enthusiasm about the 19 Kids And Counting spin-offs after the family’s show was pulled from the air following Josh and the storm of publicity over his molestation of underage girls (including both Jessa and Jill), use of the Ashley Madison site for infidelity, and porn addiction confession.
To share her baby bump bliss with her fans, Jessa has been sharing photos of her pregnancy on Instagram, reported UPI.
Jessa and Ben wed a year ago, shared their pregnancy news in April, and estimate their first child could be born on their first wedding anniversary of November 1.
“36 weeks 4 days,” Duggar wrote on a recent post.
When the news broke that after canceling 19 Kids And Counting, TLC was planning a series of specials featuring Jessa and her sister, many wanted to know whether Josh would be featured on the show as well.
As the Inquisitr reported, Josh overwhelmed his family with negative publicity since spring 2015, when the news broke that Duggar had reportedly molested five underage girls in early 2002.
TLC yanked 19 Kids and Counting from its broadcast schedule, and the advertisers essential for keeping the Duggar family’s show on the air quickly bowed out, including General Mills and Walgreens.
But the negative PR for the family had not yet ended. News subsequently broke that the data released from hackers about Ashley Madison included credit card details and email messages linked to Josh. Duggar had allegedly used the infidelity website between February 2013 and May 2015. As for the billing address for that user whose interest included sex toy experimentation and one-night stands? It was associated with Duggar family grandma, Mary.
Josh confessed on the Duggar family website that he had been unfaithful to his wife and also had become addicted to viewing internet pornography.
With all that background, will TLC include Josh as well as the rest of the Duggar family on the TV spin-offs?
Thus far, the network has indicated that while it will feature Jill and her husband as well, Jessa Duggar and her pregnancy will be the center of the TV action, reported CBS News.
Jessa, 22, was gushing when she talked about her excitement in the TV special.
“We’re going to be doing some filming preparing to welcome this little one into our lives. It’s gonna be great,” declared Duggar.
“We know that our audience is really excited about what’s been going on with Jill and Jessa as they move into young adulthood,” said TLC Executive Vice President and General Manager Nancy Daniels. “With what was happening in their lives in the next few months, it felt like now is the time (for the specials).”
The cancellation of 19 Kids and Counting occurred in July. Daniels did not comment directly on Josh or the fact that the network cancelled the Duggar family show after the molestation scandal.
Josh is now in a faith-based rehab and has not surfaced in public since entering the program. And a source said that Duggar will not appear on the upcoming specials or even be mentioned on them. Banning Josh may seem odd, but the source revealed that TLC wants to focus only on the sisters he molested.
“It may be an elephant in the room if they don’t mention it, but this [is] about Jessa and Jill,” clarified the insider.
However, will the two sisters be enough for the Duggar family brand to survive?
After the original 19 Kids and Counting was cancelled, Robert Thompson, Syracuse University Professor of Television and Popular Culture, predicted in August that TLC could succeed with a Duggar spin-off in an E! News interview.
“There are plenty of people for whom this Duggar scandal is not something that bothers them and they are still willing to watch,” Thompson said. “I would not be surprised if TLC doesn’t still have it somewhere in their idea that people from this show could be spun off. They already have their brand and fans and identity built up.”
[Image via TLC Network]