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July 16, 2015

TLC cancels '19 Kids and Counting' show after Duggar molestation disclosure

Cable television channel TLC is canceling its reality show "19 Kids and Counting" after the disclosure of child molestation within the Duggar family at the heart of the series, the network said on Thursday.

Since the molestation revelations surfaced, child protection advocates have charged that the conservative Christian parents who star on TLC's top-rated show have downplayed their son Josh's abuse of four of his sisters, including a girl who was under 10 at the time.

TLC, owned by Discovery Communications, pulled all previously aired episodes of the series in May, and at least a dozen advertisers dropped the program. But the future of the show remained in question until Thursday.

"After thoughtful consideration, TLC and the Duggar family have decided to not move forward with '19 Kids and Counting,'" the network said in a statement. "The show will no longer appear on the air. The recent attention around the Duggars has sparked a critical and important conversation about child protection."

Two daughters in the show said publicly last month that they had forgiven their brother for molesting them in the past.

Josh Duggar released a statement in May apologizing for acting "inexcusably" 12 years ago. He also resigned from his job at the conservative Christian activist group Family Research Council.

The family released the following statement on their blog Thursday:

Today, TLC announced that they will not be filming new episodes of 19 Kids and Counting.

Years ago, when we were asked to film our first one hour documentary about the logistics of raising 14 children, we felt that it was an opportunity to share with the world that children are a blessing and a gift from God.

We are so thankful for our film crew that has shown up at our house for over a decade. They have become like family to us. They have invested their time and energy into our lives and have been so loving and patient. We love and appreciate them so much!

Over the last several years people have said to us, "We love your show!" We have always responded, "It's not a show, it's our lives!" Our desire in opening our home to the world is to share Bible principles that are the answers for life’s problems.

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.

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.

We appreciate the love, support, prayers and kindness extended to us by many of you. You have deeply touched our hearts and encouraged us, during this time.

God’s faithfulness and goodness to us, along with His abundant grace have given us strength and joy even in the most difficult days.

We have committed to Him that in all things—difficulties or success, good times or bad—we will purpose to bring Him honor by staying true to our faith and our family.

We look forward to working with TLC on this upcoming special documentary and hope that it is an encouragement to many.

We know Who holds the future and are confident that He will work all things together for good.

We love each of you and look forward to unfolding the future with peace and joy.

With Gratefulness,

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar family