Can Josh Duggar Save ‘Counting On’ After Advertisers Dump The TLC Series And Ratings Drop?

Josh Duggar used to help his family explain their strict courtship rules whenever a sibling’s courtship was being filmed for 19 Kids and Counting. However, the disgraced former reality show star is nowhere to be seen as Jinger Duggar begins a new “season of life” with her future husband, Jeremy Vuolo. In fact, Josh hasn’t appeared on TV at all since he confessed to sexually molesting four of his younger sisters as a teenager.

TLC may be concerned that Josh’s presence on the Duggar family’s new series, Counting On, would act as an advertiser repellent. However, the show’s ratings are lagging, and featuring Josh on the show just might give them a much-needed boost.

As In Touch Weekly reports, it’s not like Josh Duggar’s absence is making companies feel more comfortable about their ads airing during Counting On. The first season of the show was also Josh-less, but over a dozen advertisers asked TLC to ensure that commercials for their companies did not air during the series’ time slot. The passage of time has not made some companies feel better about paying to be linked to the scandal-plagued Duggar family, and at least two advertisers have recently asked for their ads to be pulled.

“The Gerber Life ad was inadvertently shown during the premiere of Counting On,” a rep for Gerber Life told In Touch. “We have been assured that Gerber Life ads will no longer be shown during this program.”

A rep for Hotwire said that the discount travel website has decided to remove TLC from its advertising plan entirely, and a few other reps explained that their companies didn’t intend for their ads to air during the Duggars’ controversial series; they buy ad space for networks or groups of networks, not particular TV shows.

Unfortunately for the Duggars, Jinger Duggar’s courtship announcement hasn’t given Counting On a ratings boost. In fact, the series’ ratings have continued to decline. As The Inquisitr previously reported, the Season 1 finale attracted just 1.1 million viewers, which is considerably fewer than the 3.5 million viewers per episode that 19 Kids and Counting averaged during its final season. According to Showbuzz Daily, just over 1 million Counting On fans tuned in for the second episode of the Duggar family’s new series. This was down 140,000 viewers from the show’s August 23 premiere.

The Daily Mail reports that TLC may resort to using Josh Duggar to renew viewers’ interest in the show.

“Josh will appear on the next season of his sisters’ series. The plan is for him to address everything he’s done,” a source told In Touch Weekly last July.

However, this could prove to be a risky gamble. Viewers may tune in to hear what Josh has to say about his sexual molestation scandal and his ongoing efforts to repair his marriage after cheating on his wife, but they may tune out after TLC starts showing Josh living his day-to-day life and interacting with his victims as if nothing ever happened. More advertisers may also completely dump the network if it brings Josh back.

People claims that it talked to a network source who said that the rumors about Josh appearing on this season of Counting On are “absolutely untrue.” However, if the show returns for a third season, TLC may have the perfect excuse to sneak him back into the mix. As Us Weekly reports, Jinger Duggar is currently planning a wedding that Josh will surely score an invite to. The current season of Counting On will likely be over by the time Jinger says “I do,” but Josh could make an appearance during his sister’s inevitable Season 3 wedding special. Josh’s wife, Anna Duggar, has regularly appeared on Counting On already, as have their four children. It would be awkward to show Anna and the kids at the event without Josh.

Because of the role Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar played in their son’s sexual molestation scandal, many critics of the Duggar family didn’t want the parents to appear on Counting On. However, TLC has started featuring Jim Bob and Michelle on Counting On more and more. This may be a sign that the network is also slowly working toward giving Josh Duggar his chance at TV redemption.

[Image via TLC]