U.S. net TLC has formally pulled the plug on long-running reality series 19 Kids and Counting (pictured), months after allegations of molestation surfaced around one of its stars.
As previously reported, the Discovery Communications-owned network indefinitely removed the series from its schedule in mid-May following allegations that 27-year-old Josh Duggar had – while a minor himself – molested several underage girls, including two of his sisters. He has never been charged or arrested in connection to the accusations.
Discovery Communications in a prepared statement said that the net had consulted with such advocacy organizations as Darkness to Light and Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) since news of the allegations broke.
As a result, the network intends to broadcast a “multi-platform campaign” aimed at educating the public about child sexual abuse. The first phase of the campaign will see TLC work closely alongside the two organizations and victims, including the Duggar sisters, for a one-hour documentary.
“TLC has been especially concerned for the victims in this situation, including the Duggar family, and it is our hope that this effort will help those in need learn where to turn for information and help,” reads the network’s statement. “The documentary will be commercial-free, and we anticipate it will air later this summer.”
The May findings by InTouch magazine later prompted Josh Duggar to release a statement to People magazine stating, “Twelve years ago, as a young teenager I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. I hurt others, including my family and close friends. I confessed this to my parents who took several steps to help me address the situation.
“We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling,” continued Duggar. “I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life.”
The series, which chronicled the lives of Arkansas couple Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar and their 19 children, ranks as TLC’s most-watched program and has been on the air since 2008.
(With files from Manori Ravindran)