TLC pulls '19 Kids and Counting' repeats amid Josh Duggar controversy

TLC pulls '19 Kids and Counting' repeats from schedule in wake of Josh Duggar controversy

The TLC cable channel has yanked repeats of the reality series “19 Kids and Counting” from its schedule after news reports that one of its stars, Josh Duggar, was involved in inappropriate conduct when he was a minor.

"Effective immediately, TLC has pulled all episodes of '19 Kids and Counting' currently from the air," the network said Friday in a statement. "We are deeply saddened and troubled by this heartbreaking situation, and our thoughts and prayers are with the family and victims at this difficult time."

TLC, a unit of Discovery Communications, had been running repeats of "19 Kids and Counting" before the Duggar news surfaced, triggering a social media firestorm.

Airings set for next week and early June have now been pulled from the network's schedule, but the network has not canceled the series. The show is not currently in production.

The magazine InTouch published a report Thursday that included a 2006 police filing detailing an investigation into allegations that Duggar had inappropriate conduct with minors.

Duggar, 27, could not immediately be reached for comment. In a post on his family's Facebook page, which Discovery confirmed was authentic, Duggar said he regretted things he had done as a teenager.

"Twelve 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," the post said. Duggar is now married and has three children.

The show, centered on the lives of the large Arkansas family, has long enjoyed support from conservative Christians.

Mike Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor who recently announced that he was running for the Republican presidential nomination, on Friday expressed his support for the Duggar family. He lashed out at the “bloodthirsty media” for chasing the story.

“No one needs to defend Josh’s actions as a teenager, but the fact that he confessed his sins to those he harmed, sought help, and has gone forward to live a responsible and circumspect life as an adult is testament to his family’s authenticity and humility,” Huckabee said on his Facebook page.

The "19 Kids and Counting" matter marks the second controversy to hit the network dealing with inappropriate conduct in recent months.

Last October, the network canceled the popular reality show "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo," when a report surfaced that matriarch June Shannon had rekindled her relationship with Mark McDaniel, a convicted child molester who moved into the family home.

TLC is available in about 94 million homes in the U.S.  It is the second-most widely viewed channel owned by Discovery Communications, behind only the Discovery Channel. From late September to early May, TLC averaged more than 1 million viewers a night during the prime-time hours, according to Nielsen. Its target audience is women.

TLC is one of the oldest cable TV channels. It was founded in 1972 by the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare and the space agency NASA and was distributed free through a NASA satellite. 

Twitter: @villarrealy

Times staff writer Meg James contributed to this report.

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