Jessa Duggar’s new show, Jill & Jessa: Counting On, premieres in just a few days, and TLC is dodging bullets that the show is just an excuse to get the Duggar family back on air. Even Here Comes Honey Boo Boo star Mama June Shannon accused the network of trying to get the Duggar clan back on the airwaves after it was reported that TLC lost over $20 million when they cancelled 19 Kids And Counting, reports the Gospel Herald.
Although Jill & Jessa: Counting On will follow Jessa Duggar as she prepares for her first child and Jill as she leaves the United States on a mission to Central America, the series also addresses the Josh Duggar scandals. Anna Duggar appears on the show to directly address her feelings about Josh cheating on her, leaving some fans to wonder if the TLC is exploiting the scandals through the more socially acceptable veneer of his victims: Jill and Jessa Duggar, and their sister-in-law, Anna.
In clips to promote Jill & Jessa: Counting On, an emotional Anna Duggar tells the camera that it “was heartbreaking to hear what had happened” after the revelations that Josh Duggar cheated on her using the infidelity website Ashley Madison, reports Entertainment Tonight. At the time, Josh Duggar had not one, but two separate accounts on the site, which he reportedly used to sleep with adult film star Danica Dillon.
Jessa Duggar and Jill also talk about the scandal, as well as the news that Josh Duggar molested five girls when he was 14-years-old. Two of his victims are Jill & Jessa: Counting On stars, Jessa and Jill Duggar. In the promotional clip, Jessa tells the camera that it was “supposed to be the happiest time” in her life, with a new marriage and a baby on the way. When the story broke that she was molested by her brother, Jessa Duggar was crushed, she reveals.
Of course, the sisters were also concerned for Anna, and Jill admits that during the scandals she “cried a lot of tears,” and her “first thoughts were for Anna.”
According to Entertainment Tonight, however, Jill & Jessa: Counting On has caused a rift in the Duggar family because although the clan is known for sticking together, “certain members of the family are more focused on ratings and a paycheck than actually focusing on the issues at hand,” a source revealed.
Mama June Shannon, of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo fame, recently told Radar Online that Jill & Jessa: Counting On is just an excuse for TLC to get at least some of the Duggars back on air, in this case, at least Jill, Jessa, and Anna. Shannon’s show was cancelled after she began dating an ex-boyfriend who had been jailed for child molestation, and who had also molested one of her own daughters. TLC crew and bodyguards were immediately removed from Mama June’s home.
According to Shannon, TLC has treated the Duggar clan differently, and according to Entertainment Tonight, a source revealed that some members of the Duggar family have “chosen not to participate in the special out of respect to the serious ordeal the family has been going through in the last months.”
If some members have “chosen not to participate,” does that mean they were asked to be on Jill & Jessa: Counting On? And are Jill and Jessa Duggar helping the family recoup some of the income they lost when 19 Kids And Counting was cancelled?
Certainly, cancelling 19 Kids And Counting has left TLC with a lot of lost revenue, and according to the Examiner, the network lost a reported $20 million when they took the Duggar family off the air. Meanwhile, the Duggars have lost between $25,000 and $45,000 per episode, which was their paycheck prior to the Josh Duggar scandals.
The Examiner also reports that the Duggar family has lost over $25 million a year as they lost book deals, lucrative endorsement contracts, and speaking engagements.
Although TLC has not admitted that Jill & Jessa: Counting On is a sly way to get the Duggar family back on air, only time will tell whether audiences will even still be receptive to Jill, Anna, and Jessa Duggar.
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