*I’m not quite sure why TLC is cancelling the Duggar show. Or even if it is in fact getting cancelled.
But here is the crux of the matter: some unsavory incidents in the distant past of one of the Duggar sons, and in the recent past of some of their acquaintances, has spooked network execs into taking the show off the air for the time being. But there are a few reasons why this might not make sense.
First it was not a secret that the family was not part of mainstream Christianity. They weren’t even part of mainstream conservative Christianity. At some point the people at TLC made the conscious decision to court viewers that believed as the Duggars do. I doubt that audience went away due to the recent scandals. So why take them off the air?
Secondly the show is primarily about the patriarch and matriarch of the Duggar family. Of course with a show about a couple who tried to have a child annually, the children will become focal points. But the show was really about Jim and Michelle. But Jim and Michelle haven’t done anything wrong. So why is TLC reacting as if a show about them is no longer a viable programming option?
But understanding that there would be some backlash against the show in general still doesn’t equal taking it off the air. We are talking about an incident involving a family member that happened over a decade ago. And we are talking about conservative Christians and presumably the conservative Christian viewership that TLC is after. If there is any group that could forgive a transgression from over 10 years ago, especially with so much evidence that the offender has turned a corner, it would be this audience. So why take them off the air?
The only explanation is that TLC is just finding out about this. And I guess that’s possible if the network didn’t do its due diligence in researching the family when they first considered the show. But if that’s true Jim and Michelle aren’t the only people TLC needs to cut ties with. Whoever was in charge of finding stuff like this out should be relieved of that duty because they apparently aren’t up to the challenge. And if TLC knew about this, then again, why take them off the air?
I’m not arguing that the Duggar lifestyle is admirable. I probably wouldn’t have given them a TV show in the first place. And there are a bunch of things I disagree with them about. But at this point TLC made their bed.
Now sleep in it – with the 20-something Duggars for warmth.
Trevor Brookins is a free lance writer in Rockland County, New York. He is currently working on a book about American culture during the Cold War. His writing has appeared in The Journal News. You can reach him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @historictrev.