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TLC boss grilled about network's handling of Josh Duggar and 'Honey Boo Boo' scandals

TLC boss grilled about network's handling of Josh Duggar and 'Honey Boo Boo' scandals
Nancy Daniels, the general manager of TLC, speaks Thursday during theTelevision Critics Assn. press tour in Pasadena. (Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images)

TLC boss Nancy Daniels found herself in the hot seat when asked to explain the network's handling of scandals involving the popular families it features in its lineup.

Daniels, who serves as the general manager of the network, was on hand Thursday at the Television Critics Assn. press tour in Pasadena prepared to promote the network's newest reality series, "Single Dad Seeking ..." But at the top of the panel, members of the media in attendance were more interested in getting answers from Daniels about the network's decision-making of recent scandals, most notably the sexual-abuse allegations involving siblings from the Duggar clan.

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"Our first priority with all our shows is ensuring the health and well-being of our families," Daniels said.

In May, it was revealed that as a minor, Josh Duggar, one of the stars of "19 Kids and Counting," had inappropriate contact with five underage girls, four of whom were his sisters (two were confirmed to be Jessa Seewald and Jill Dillard).

The Discovery-owned network initially pulled "19 Kids and Counting" from its schedule before ultimately canceling the series two months later.

Daniels' response Wednesday did not satisfy reporters. Pressed again about the network's response to the scandals, Daniels grew silent as she gathered her reply.

"Obviously over the last year, we've had a couple of big, very public incidents surrounding our families," she said. Daniels added that every decision made by TLC along the way was "very carefully and very thoughtfully" weighed.

"I'm very comfortable with every decision along the way," she said.

Daniels was then pressed further about the screening process for its talent. In addition to the Duggar scandal, TLC found itself canceling "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" in late 2014 after allegations emerged that matriarch June Shannon was involved romantically with a man convicted of child molestation.

"We do have a strong screening process, and I think over the years, our screening process has evolved in many ways," she said. "As soon as we found out about it, we did immediately circle back with the family. These are people that had something in their lives a long time ago. We were working with them to figure out when it happened and how do we handle it now. We pulled the show off the air. We immediately connected with RAINN and Darkness to Light, two very well-respected nonprofits involved in this area to figure out the appropriate response."

In the case of the Duggar family, TLC ordered a one-hour documentary, "Breaking the Silence", that aired in August with the intent of raising awareness of the sexual abuse of minors. The special featured two of Duggar's sisters, Jill and Jessa, in addition to other survivors and families.

The network has continued to keep its relationship with the Duggars going. TLC aired three specials centered on the Duggar sisters Jill and Jessa on their respective journeys into marriage and motherhood.

Daniels said the specials, titled "Jill and Jessa: Counting On," drew more than 3 million viewers, but she said no decision has been made on doing more.

I tweet about TV (and other things) here: @villarrealy

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