The Duggar family was a staple on the TLC network for eight years before “19 Kids and Counting” was canceled after Josh Duggar admitted to sexually assaulting four of his sisters when he was a teen.
The family made a reported $40,000 an episode, which added up to $880,000 for its tenth season ending in May 2015, not including various spin-offs and specials.
And with 19 kids and counting, just with the main Duggar family, they probably needed every single penny.
According to the USDA, the minimum cost of feeding a family of 21 is around $4,500 per month. Though some of the Duggar kids have gotten married and moved out, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar still have plenty of hungry mouths to feed.
The family also has a tour bus that they use as a car called the “silver bullet” that has 15 bunk beds and can sleep the whole family comfortably. Currently gas in Arkansas is around $2.41 a gallon and if the family fills up their tank three times a month that adds up to $1,810.50… just on gas!
Luckily, the Duggars' 7,000 square foot home is bought and paid for, but they still have have to handle car payments, buy clothes, pay for private schooling, medical care, and everything else a family with kids spends money on.
So what can the Duggars do now to make ends meet?
Bonnie Fuller, of HollywoodLife.com, believes the family can find another network to call home and can make even more money if multiple networks are bidding for them.
"The Duggars could always shop their show to other networks," she speculated. "This family has a very devoted fan base and will follow them anywhere.”
Fuller said she isn’t convinced TLC is totally done with the Duggars.
“HollywoodLife.com has spoken to insiders very close to the production of their show, who tell us that TLC is strongly considering doing a spin-off show of sorts. The [family] is also participating in a TLC special about sexual abuse.”
Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5WPR, however, feels strongly that the Duggars' fame days are done.
“The Duggar family is done and finished and it is impossible for them to ever again get a career in reality TV,” he said. “I mean, what brand or network would want to be partnered with them?”
If the Duggars do end up in TV purgatory, what can they do to make money?
“I do see a potential book in their future,” Glenn Selig, president & CEO of Selig Multimedia, said. “It would need to be about how the family came together, or didn’t, lessons learned and be inspirational in approach. Some time would need to pass before they could write such a book to gain perspective.”
The Duggars have some experience in the publishing world. The four oldest daughters, Jana, Jill, Jessa and Jinger wrote a book titled “Growing Up Duggar” in 2014.
Another way the family has been known to bring home the bacon is through paid appearances. Jim Bob and Michelle’s public speaking fees reportedly range from $10,000 to $20,000.
Torossian said regardless, one way or another the Duggars are bound to have a reality check.
“Michelle and Jim Bob will both be faced with the harsh reality of bills—yes, I think they will both need to get ‘real’ jobs,” he said. “They will both earn ‘normal’ livings in "normal" jobs is my prediction as their 15 minutes is over.”
Alec Shankman, head of alternative programming & digital media at Abrams Artists Agency, agrees that it’s time for the family to become regular people.
“The Duggars should simply do their best to resume living a 'regular' life, as best as they can,” he said. “They should take a break from the spotlight and work towards achieving a sense of normalcy in an effort to create a safe, comfortable, nurturing environment for all of the kids.”