The Duggar family first received a reality show because of their unusual family size, and for years, the show’s format centered around life in a large family. Since 2015, when their previous show, 19 Kids and Counting, was canceled, to be replaced with the spin-off, Counting On, weddings have been the key element of the series.
After the public learned that Josh Duggar, the eldest son of Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar, had admitted to molesting several underage girls, and his parents told Fox News‘ Megyn Kelly that they had afterward protected their kids through such measures as locking their daughters (not their sons) in at night, and forbidding games of hide-and-seek, the new show’s format was expected to focus on the older Duggar kids. In fact, for the first season, it was branded Jill and Jessa: Counting On, with the two sisters’ names dropped later. Viewers expected that Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar, along with Josh, would be kept off-screen.
With the shift of focus to the oldest Duggar kids, weddings became a key element of the show, with seasons centered around Jinger Duggar’s courtship and wedding to Jeremy Vuolo, Joy-Anna Duggar’s wedding to Austin Forsyth, and Joe Duggar’s wedding to Kendra Caldwell, which is still being shown in the current season. Now, Josiah Duggar’s engagement appears to promise another wedding — and another season of the family’s reality show.
I feel like the most blessed guy on earth ????… Lauren said YES! God definitely opened our eyes in his perfect timing to show us how we complete each other. The more time I spend with Lauren the more I realize how I can't live without her. There's no one else I'd rather spend my days and grow old with! #engaged #weddingplanningbegins
If you’re keeping count, that’s six out of 19 Duggar kids married — seven if Josiah ties the knot after a short courtship, as has become the family’s usual practice. However, of the dozen kids with no announced attachment, only four are over 18 — and they’re the two pairs of twins. Jana and John David turned 28 in January, and Jedidiah and Jeremiah shared a 19th birthday in December. One more Duggar, Jason, will turn 18 next month.
What does that mean for further seasons and more weddings? Well, maybe nothing at all. Josiah’s wedding could be featured in the fall, and by spring 2019, there could be another engagement. In the summer of 2019, another Duggar (James) will come of age, and after that, a Duggar will turn 18 every year or two until 2028 — and then the eldest Duggar grandchild will also turn 18, and there could be another generation of weddings on display. At least, hypothetically.
But kids turning 18 isn’t what the Duggar family’s reality show focuses on. It’s been all about the weddings, and the new married lives. To keep up the current pace, the kids hitting nominal adulthood isn’t enough — they’d have to keep having weddings, which would mean marrying off very young adults on a regular basis.
Some of the Duggar kids have married at a young age already — Joy Anna was married at age 19, and Josh at age 20, for instance. However, there’s no guarantee that out of any 19 people, all 19 will be ready for marriage so young. Jana and John David are testaments to the truth of this in the Duggar family. John David has declared himself, on the family’s show, to be a “bachelor ’til the rapture,” and according to Blasting News, fans don’t think Jana will marry until her little siblings can all care for themselves.
As for the younger Duggar twins, Jed and Jer, their siblings don’t seem to think they’re ready to wed. In a video posted to TLC‘s YouTube channel this week (though it was taken before Joe and Kendra’s wedding in September), the Duggar family is asked who will be next to start a relationship. There are a couple of interesting revelations here. First, the interviewer’s question is rather specific.
“Who is the Duggar brother most likely to start a relationship next?”
Note that of the adult Duggar siblings, this question leaves Jana out.
Also, this video was filmed before Josiah Duggar announced his courtship and subsequent engagement to Lauren Swanson, so even without Jana, there were four possibilities (assuming that kids under 18 are off-limits): John David, Josiah, Jeremiah, and Jedidiah. Jeremy Vuolo was the only family member to single out John David as a likely possibility. John David himself declined to guess. Joy named all four unmarried adult brothers. Jessa, Jana, and Josiah all agreed that Josiah would be next.
It’s not clear whether the Duggar siblings knew, at the time of filming, of Josiah’s intent to court and wed Lauren Swanson, or whether he was just a good guess, but note that while even the ‘bachelor until the rapture’ got one vote from his family, the only mention of the twins was Joy’s very inclusive tease, and even she seemed to add Jed and Jer as an afterthought.
It doesn’t sound like any of the Duggars think a wedding — much less a double wedding — is in store for the younger twins anytime soon.
Though the family does sometimes keep secrets about courtships, the current public information from them makes it sound like Josiah’s could be the last wedding for a while. So, what happens when there’s no Duggar ready to wed? Will Counting On find a different focus for a season, or take a hiatus? With at least two new Duggar family members being born this year, bringing the number of grandkids to an even dozen, perhaps a Duggar daycare season is coming.