LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Learning Channel (TLC) announced today that it will no longer air the popular reality television show “19 Kids and Counting,” while recently announcing the addition of its transgender series “I Am Jazz.”
“After thoughtful consideration, TLC and the Duggar family have decided to not move forward with ’19 Kids and Counting,'” it said in a statement. “The show will no longer appear on the air.”
The decision comes after the revelation that eldest Duggar son, Josh, now 26, inappropriately touched several girls—four of his sisters and a babysitter—at the age of 14 and was required by his parents to obtain help. Duggar, who confessed to his parents about his actions at that time, later repented of his sins and became a born-again Christian.
While Duggar says that he turned away from that sin years ago, a police chief who was soon to retire decided to release the 2006 documents surrounding the matter to the media this past May, which then sparked a firestorm of controversy nationwide in learning of his past. Duggar resigned from his position in ministry at the Washington-based Family Policy Council, stating that he did not wish to be a distraction from its work, and moved back to Arkansas with his wife and children.
Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar also appeared on national television to explain how they dealt with their then-teenage son, as did Duggar’s sisters Jessa and Jill, who stated that while their brother’s “curious” touching was inappropriate, they were upset that the police chief and the media dug up the past and violated their personal privacy.
“If you’ve had failures in your past, it doesn’t mean you can’t be changed,” Jessa Duggar told Fox’s Megyn Kelly. “I think the real issue is people are making this sound like it happened yesterday.”
Jessa’s courtship, engagement and marriage to her husband Ben had been among the last episodes featured on “19 Kids and Counting.” Both Jill and Jessa had communicated on their show the importance of purity and both saved their first kiss for their wedding day. Josh Duggar and his wife Anna had done the same in 2009, which was likewise televised.
The Duggars reiterated in a statement on Thursday that the situation with their son is a matter of the past, but that they hope it can be used to help other families whose children are heading down a path of sin.
“With God’s grace and help, Josh, our daughters and our entire family overcame a terrible situation, found healing and a way forward. We are so pleased with the wonderful adults they have all become,” they wrote. “It is our prayer that the painful situation our family went through many years ago can point people toward faith in God and help others who also have lived through similar dark situations to find help, hope and healing, as well.”
While the Duggars have been removed from the TLC lineup, the network has recently added the transgender reality show “I Am Jazz,” featuring 14-year-old teen Jazz Jennings, a male who identifies as female. The 11-episode series features the teen’s life as living as the opposite sex.
“Parents Jeanette and Greg have spent the years finding doctors to treat their daughter, while fighting the discrimination and misconceptions associated with what it means to be transgender,” TLC describes the show on its site.
“Not only does Jazz face the normal struggles of a 14 year-old girl; boy crazy friends, mood swings, and body image issues, she must also contend with the unique challenges of being a transgender girl,” it continues. “Jazz is on a regimen of hormone therapy so that she can look and develop like the other girls in her school. But, Jazz struggles with comparing herself, and the lagging pace of her breast development to her friends.”
TLC also airs the reality show “Sister Wives,” which features a polygamist Kody Brown and his five “wives,” as well as “Long Island Medium,” which follows the psychic work of Theresa Caputo, who claims to communicate with the dead.