Josh Duggar may be dropped from '19 Kids and Counting', cancels speaking event

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TLC appears to be leaning closer to making a decision on how to handle 19 Kids and Counting amid Josh Duggar's child molestation scandal.

The network stopped airing the show on Friday, May 22, and now, they are considering dropping the eldest Duggar son from the docu-series. They don't believe the move will hurt the show, as the Duggar daughters seem to be the real draw -- TLC's research has shown that Jill and Jessa's weddings and the birth of Jill's first child are what brought in the big ratings, according to TMZ.

There is still a chance that 19 Kids and Counting will be cancelled outright -- especially if big advertisers continue to pull out, as General Mills already has -- but the reality show is such a juggernaut for the network that they will most likely look for a middle ground. If the show continues on, the real question will be how they handle the scandal (and Josh's disappearance from the series) on air.

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Josh Duggar may be dropped from '19 Kids and Counting', cancels speaking event
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 11: Josh Duggar visits 'Extra' at their New York studios at H&M in Times Square on March 11, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Extra)
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - FEBRUARY 28: Anna Duggar and Josh Duggar pose during the 42nd annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the Gaylord National Resort Hotel and Convention Center on February 28, 2015 in National Harbor, Maryland. Conservative activists attended the annual political conference to discuss their agenda. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 11: Hilaria Baldwin (R) interviews Josh Duggar and his daughter during their visit with 'Extra' in Times Square on March 11, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Extra)
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - FEBRUARY 28: Josh Duggar speaks during the 42nd annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the Gaylord National Resort Hotel and Convention Center on February 28, 2015 in National Harbor, Maryland. Conservative activists attended the annual political conference to discuss their agenda. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images)
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - FEBRUARY 28: Anna Duggar and Josh Duggar pose during the 42nd annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the Gaylord National Resort Hotel and Convention Center on February 28, 2015 in National Harbor, Maryland. Conservative activists attended the annual political conference to discuss their agenda. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images)
Josh Duggar, executive director of FRC Action, speaks in favor the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act at the Arkansas state Capitol in Little Rock, Ark., Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)
18 of the 19 members of the Duggar family pose for a photo at Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport in Highfil, Ark. on Friday, May 9, 2008, after returning from a trip to New York where the announced that they are expecting their 18th child. This weekend, Duggar will join her husband and their 17 children to celebrate Mother's Day with brunch at a hotel in downtown Little Rock. Their youngest child, Jennifer, is 9 months old. Their oldest, Josh, is 20. The Duggar children include 10 boys and seven girls. Within the group are two sets of twins. (AP Photo/Beth Hall)
In this Aug. 2, 2007 file photo, Michelle Duggar, left, is surrounded by her children and husband Jim Bob, second from left, after the birth of her 17th child in Rogers, Ark. Michelle Duggar gave birth to her 18th child, a girl named Jordyn-Grace Makiya Duggar, Thursday, Dec. 18, 2008. (AP Photo/ Beth Hall, File)
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - FEBRUARY 28: Anna Duggar and Josh Duggar pose during the 42nd annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the Gaylord National Resort Hotel and Convention Center on February 28, 2015 in National Harbor, Maryland. Conservative activists attended the annual political conference to discuss their agenda. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 11: Hilaria Baldwin (R) interviews Josh Duggar and his daughter during their visit with 'Extra' in Times Square on March 11, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Extra)
Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, right, puts a cheese head hat on his friend Josh Duggar during their visit to Simon's Specialty Cheese in Appleton, Wis., Monday, April 2, 2012. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
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NEWS: TLC Pulls 19 Kids and Counting

It's hard to believe that TLC wasn't aware of Josh's history before now. In 2006, The Oprah Winfrey Show cancelled a scheduled appearance by the Duggars after receiving an email tip about Josh's indiscretions. That letter was reported to the Department of Human Services, which led to an investigation by Springdale, Arkansas, police in December 2006.

Josh's parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, however, knew about their son's situation far earlier than that. In 2002, a then 14-year-old Josh told his parents that he had inappropriately touched a girl, also a minor, and was allegedly sent for counseling in 2003. He was since been accused of inappropriate actions with five girls total during his teenage years, all minors and some reportedly his sisters.

NEWS: A Timeline of Josh Duggar's Allegations

Mama June Shannon is convinced that TLC did know about Josh's indiscretions and covered them up, because that's what she says the network did with her oldest daughter Anna Cardwell. Here Comes Honey Boo Boo was cancelled by TLC last October following reports that Mama June was dating convicted child molester Mark McDaniel, who had sexually abused Anna when she was eight.

"[TLC] knew about [Josh Duggar] since 2006 and didn't do anything," she told ET. "They kept filming the show, but as soon as rumors started [about Mark and me], they canceled Honey Boo Boo quick."

Josh is already trying to remove himself from the public eye. TMZ also claims that he cancelled a scheduled appearance at a home schooling convention in Sandusky, Ohio. The married 27-year-old reportedly said "he would be too much of a distraction and didn't want the focus of the conference to be blurred," and the organizers apparently commended him and his parents on how they're handling the situation.

WATCH: Mama June Slams TLC After Airing Marathon of 19 Kids and Counting

Last week, Josh directly addressed the claims in an official statement on his family's Facebook page. "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," he wrote. "I confessed this to my parents who took several steps to help me address the situation. We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing, and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling. I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life."

Since the news broke, the father-of-three has resigned from his job at the Family Research Council. His 26-year-old wife Anna, currently pregnant with their fourth child, has remained supportive of her husband, who had told her about his past indiscretions when they began dating.

WATCH: Josh Duggar Responds to Molestation Claims

Josh Duggar Responds to Molestation Claims: 'I Acted Inexcusably'
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