LOS ANGELES – Weeks have gone by since the Josh Duggar molestation scandal hit headlines, and TLC has yet to even comment on the future of "19 Kids and Counting."
It has been 21 days since In Touch Magazine revealed that the eldest Duggar son sexually abused five females, several of them being his sisters, when he was a teenager in 2002 and 2003.
While TLC, a network under the umbrella of Discovery communications, promptly pulled the long running reality series from its schedule after the news broke, it hasn’t made an official cancellation announcement. By comparison last year TLC canned “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” just one day after it was disclosed that the June Shannon, the matriarch on the show, was dating a convicted child molester. Sister network Discovery yanked “Sons of Guns” 16 days after learning star Will Hayden was charged with sexual abuse.
Reality star manager, Marc Marcuse, President of Reel Management, said that TLC is could be holding onto the show, at least for now, because of its financial value.
“At this point, it seems nearly inevitable that the show will be canceled,” Marcuse told FOX 411. “But sometimes bad publicity yields ratings.”
Los Angeles based entertainment attorney Julian Chan agreed that the delay is likely money-related, "because it makes financial sense to them, either because of deals with sponsors, or with relationships with the producers and executive producers and other important people in the show.”
The Duggar-centered show remains a ratings juggernaut for the network, going from an average of 1.44 million viewers in the first season, to 2.45 million viewers in its tenth. “Sons of Guns” was at the time fairly stagnant through its seasons with an audience of 1.33 in its first to 1.34 million in its fifth season. “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” had dropped from an average viewership of 2.35 million in its debut season to 1.08 million in its fourth, indicating it may have been on the way out anyway.
According to reality TV producer Douglas Wilson, it does seem unusual for a network to keep its audience in the dark for this long.
“I don’t know they have all the evidence they need to make the best decision,” he said. “It’s also not clear whether their audience will perceive TLC as groundbreaking for continuing to tell the story, or foolhardy for maintaining the Duggars. In other words, can TLC keep the Duggars on the air without appearing to be part of the problem?”
TLC did not return request for comment.
You can follow Blanche Johnson on Twitter @blancheFOXLA.