Josh Duggar’s spectacular fall from grace in 2015 caused TLC to pull the plug on the Duggar family’s long-running TV series, 19 Kids and Counting. Two years later, the network may be depending on Josh to prop up Counting On, his family’s less successful spin-off series.
According to In Touch, family patriarch Jim Bob Duggar has spent the last several weeks lobbying TLC executives to let Josh return to TV. Against all odds, his pleas have reportedly landed on receptive ears.
“Nobody thought TLC would ever allow him on again,” a source close to the situation said. However, Counting On‘s falling ratings made the network reconsider its stance on the issue.
“[Jim Bob] spent a month trying to convince TLC that Josh should be back on the show. They finally caved and agreed to let him film an upcoming Counting On webisode where he’ll talk about his joy at learning he’s going to be a father again.”
The source went on to say that if the webisode is a success, Josh Duggar will “appear on the next season of Counting On.”
For those who have been living under a rock since 2015, Josh — the eldest son of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar’s astonishingly large brood of 19 children — stunned viewers, TLC, and advertisers with his admission that he molested five girls as a teen, four of whom were his own sisters. Shortly afterward, he was caught up in the Ashley Madison website scandal, confessing that he had used the notorious cheating site to be unfaithful to his wife, Anna.
Immediately after the Ashley Madison scandal broke, Josh Duggar released a statement on his family’s blog.
“I have been the biggest hypocrite ever. While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the Internet and this became a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife.
“I am so ashamed of the double life that I have been living and am grieved for the hurt, pain and disgrace my sin has caused my wife and family, and most of all Jesus and all those who profess faith in Him.
“I brought hurt and a reproach to my family, close friends and the fans of our show with my actions that happened when I was 14-15 years old, and now I have re-broken their trust.”
Facing pressure from outraged fans and bailing advertisers, TLC canceled 19 Kids and Counting but created the spin-off series Counting On, which focused on the Duggar sisters, in its place. The show has never been as popular as its predecessor, and its ratings have been on the decline, according to the Hollywood Gossip.
While TLC tried to move on without him, Josh Duggar kept a low profile and received “counseling” for his indiscretions. This counseling — which was faith-based and not conducted by mental health professionals — included a long period of sexual abstinence between Josh and Anna, according to Radar. This break was apparently responsible for the two-year wait between Anna’s fourth and fifth pregnancies.
“The reason it even took this long for Anna to get pregnant was because they had a wait period before they could have sex,” an inside source told the outlet. “They were in a rebuilding of trust phase. It was only kisses and hugs at first, as part of his therapy. They had a waiting period before they were allowed to have sex.”
But with the recent announcement that Anna is expecting Josh Duggar’s fifth child — and enough time has gone by that many viewers and advertisers have forgiven Josh — TLC seems to believe the time is right to put Josh back on American TVs.
Meanwhile, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have already begun reintroducing Josh back to fans. In March, they posted a birthday message to their oldest son on Facebook, asking him to “serve the Lord.”
“Happy birthday, Josh. We love you, your amazing wife and sweet children. We pray that you diligently follow and serve the Lord with your whole heart all the days of your life and that this year is a wonderful year for you and your family.”
Do you think Josh Duggar should appear on Counting On?
Counting On returns later this year on TLC.
[Featured Image by Duggar Family Official/Facebook]