Jill & Jessa: Counting On has been controversial since the reality show debuted in 2015 as a three-part special event. It was renewed for a full season, which has just closed with a two-part finale. With ratings falling, and sponsors refusing to have their products associated with the show, the big question has been whether there will be a second season.
Back in January, TLC General Manager Nancy Daniels said there had been no decision made about additional episodes, or further featuring of the Duggar family in other shows, according to the L.A. Times. When the show returned in March, it featured scenes that appeared to have been filmed in 2015, such as a Fall Feast episode, leading some viewers to speculate that the statement was misleading.
Further, Daniels' statement that there'd been no decision was made on January 7, during the Television Critics Association press tour. However, Radar Online learned that only days later, several of the siblings were being filmed purchasing supplies for a treehouse.
The treehouse would be a key plot point in the first full season of Jill & Jessa: Counting On. None of this demonstrates definitively that Daniels knew there would be a full season. Massive amounts of footage are filmed each year that never make it to television -- failed pilots, hours of footage that doesn't make it past the proverbial cutting room floor, and other material that just doesn't make it.
Still, it leads viewers to question whether the show is really over after the season finale, or whether TLC will push on with another season, despite the backlash.
Now, the same discussion is making the rounds again: will Jill and Jessa's reality show return? Is Josh's return home enough to turn the viewers away? Will TLC give up, since the sponsors are distancing themselves? Is a return of Counting On inevitable?
The fact that, again, TLC is continuing to promote the show and offer new content after its finale, may be a hint.
On Mother's Day Sunday, the Jill & Jessa: Counting On page promoted the show with a video interview from Jessa Seewald about being a mother. In the video Jessa describes her favorite part of being a mother: watching her son, Spurgeon, grow and reach milestones.
TLC has also released a new video centering around Jill Dillard -- or rather, around Central America, where Jill is currently living with her husband, Derick, and son, Israel. Described as "bonus footage," the two minutes of video is a (Duggar-free) flyover showing the beauty of the area.
Meanwhile, the Duggars themselves have been asking for feedback, perhaps in hopes of keeping the audience engaged.
Last month, PR expert David Johnson told Life & Style that there was no way Counting On could stay on the air. He described the family as "like the Zika virus" to advertisers. However, that doesn't seem to have stopped TLC so far.
At this point, there has been no official announcement of a Jill & Jessa: Counting On second season, but every sign suggests it's likely.
[Image via TLC]