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NPR Arts & Life

TLC Cancels '19 Kids And Counting' After Josh Duggar Molestation Scandal

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The cable network TLC has canceled its hit series "19 Kids And Counting." That's the reality show that made celebrities out of a conservative family from Arkansas. The move comes after it was revealed that one of the show's stars, Josh Duggar, was investigated for molesting underage girls. NPR's Andrew Limbong explains.

ANDREW LIMBONG, BYLINE: The Duggar family was huge for TLC.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "19 KIDS AND COUNTING")

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: This is where y'all got married 30 years ago, right there - smack-dab.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: This is it. Isn't that something? And here in about two minutes...

LIMBONG: The big wedding episode of "19 Kids And Counting" from last October - that drew 4.4 million viewers, which, according to the network, was its highest-viewed telecast in four years. And then May came around.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2: Next tonight, the huge scandal erupting around a popular American family.

LIMBONG: The magazine In Touch Weekly published a police report that detailed how Josh Duggar forcibly fondled five underage girls, including some of his sisters. The Duggar family vaguely confirmed on Facebook with Josh posting, quote, "12 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." TLC then stopped airing reruns of "19 Kids And Counting," and the Duggars stayed off TV for a while until they were interviewed by Fox News's Megyn Kelly. Here's the father, Jim Bob Duggar, explaining how the family initially reacted to the situation.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE KELLY FILE")

JIM BOB DUGGAR: We thought, what do we do with this information. And the girls - we talked to them, and they didn't know that anything had happened because they were asleep. And so we talked to him. We put all kinds of punishments on him.

LIMBONG: That was back in June, and things were quiet since then. Announcing the show's cancellation, TLC said over the past weeks, it's consulted with leading victim advocacy organizations like the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network and Darkness to Light. The network is teaming up with those organization for a one-hour documentary that will include the sisters and other survivors. Andrew Limbong, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.