TLC cancels '19 Kids and Counting'

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TLC Axes Duggars, Promises Documentary

NEW YORK (AP) -- After weeks in limbo stemming from revelations of sexual misconduct by one of its stars, the TLC reality show "19 Kids and Counting" is officially dead.

TLC is not moving forward with an 11th season of "19 Kids" featuring the Duggars, whose show "will no longer appear on the air," the network told The Associated Press on Thursday.

"We spent the past month and a half in thoughtful consideration about what is the best way forward here," said Marjorie Kaplan, group president of TLC, Animal Planet and Velocity networks.

In a move to redirect the attention and public outcry, TLC also announced it has teamed with two prominent child-protection organizations for an ongoing campaign to raise awareness about child sexual abuse.

The multi-platform initiative will begin with a one-hour, commercial-free documentary likely airing in late August, the network said. It will include the participation of Jill and Jessa Duggar, two of the sisters Josh Duggar touched inappropriately, as well as other survivors and families affected by such abuse.

Duggar family moments you won't see on TV anymore:

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TLC cancels '19 Kids and Counting'
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Michelle Duggar and Jim Bob Duggar appear on NBC News' 'Today' show (Photo by Peter Kramer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 11: AJ Calloway (C) poses with (L-R) Jessa Duggar, Jinger Duggar, Jill Duggar, and Jana Duggar during their visit to '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)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Michelle Duggar, Jim Bob Duggar and Kate Upton appear on NBC News' 'Today' show (Photo by Peter Kramer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) James Duggar, Michelle Duggar and Matt Lauer appear on NBC News' 'Today' show (Photo by Peter Kramer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
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)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 11: (R-L) AJ Calloway and Hilaria Baldwin interview 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)
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)
Two weeks ago I married my best friend! 😘 I love you, Darling! @ben_seewald
It's great living life with your best friend! @ben_seewald
We're expecting!!! So grateful to God for this new little blessing!!! #babydilly #firsttimeparents #sogratefultoGod #derickdillard #jillmdillard
We enjoyed a wonderful family dinner at the Bradford Inn! #familyvacation2014 #19kids #branson
Met Duck Dynasty's Allen & Lisa Robertson tonight!
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 10: A view of the book 'A Love That Multiplies' during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the Marriott Wardman Park on February 10, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 23: Jill Duggar Dillard (L) and husband Derick Dillard visit 'Extra' at their New York studios at H&M in Times Square on October 23, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Extra)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 23: (L-R) AJ Calloway interviews Jill Duggar Dillard and husband Derick Dillard during their visit to 'Extra' at their New York studios at H&M in Times Square on October 23, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Extra)
FILE - In this March 14, 2014 file photo, Rev. Mark Harris, right, who is seeking a Republican U.S. Senate nomination in the upcoming North Carolina primary, is supported during a campaign event by Jim Bob Duggar, left, and his wife, Michelle Duggar, center, in Raleigh, N.C. The Duggars have 19 children and star in a reality TV show. (AP Photo/Ted Richardson)
FILE - In this March 14, 2014 file photo, Rev. Mark Harris, left, who is seeking a Republican U.S. Senate nomination in the upcoming North Carolina primary, was supported during a campaign event by Michelle Duggar, kneeling, and Jim Bob Duggar, back right, and many of the Duggar's 19 children, in Raleigh, N.C., The Duggars star in a reality TV show. (AP Photo/Ted Richardson)
In this Aug. 2, 2007 file photo, Michelle Duggar, left, is surrounded by her children and husband Jim Bob, third from right after the birth of her 17th child in Rogers, Ark. The Duggars announced on Friday, May 9, 2008 that they are expecting their 18th child. (AP Photo/ Beth Hall, File)
In this Aug. 2, 2007 file photo, Michelle Duggar, left, is surrounded by her children and husband Jim Bob, tsecond from left, after the birth of her 17th child in Rogers, Ark. The Duggars announced on Friday, May 9, 2008 that they are expecting their 18th child. (AP Photo/ Beth Hall, File)
Jim Bob Duggar, top left, watches as his twin sons, Jedidiah and Jeremiah, both 9, Jordyn-Grace Makiya and mother, Michelle, pose for a photo taken by Josiah, right, 12, on Friday, Dec. 19, 2008, in Rogers, Ark. Jordyn-Grace Makiya is the 18th child born into the Duggar family on Dec. 18, 2008. The cable network TLC broadcasts a weekly show about the Duggars, called "Seventeen and Counting." (AP Photo/Beth Hall)
FILE - In this Dec. 19, 2008 file picture, Michelle Duggar holds her newborn daughter, Jordyn-Grace Makiya in Rogers, Ark. No. 19 caught Michelle Duggar by surprise. The 42-year-old mom of 18 noticed that she wasn't losing weight, even though she and husband Jim Bob were on Weight Watchers, and her youngest child, 8-month-old Jordyn-Grace, was fussing while nursing. In the past, she found a fussy infant meant a change in breast milk that came with pregnancy. (AP Photo/Beth Hall)
Arkansas state Rep. Jim Bob Duggar of Springdale front center, and his wife Michelle, right, lead twelve of their thirteen children to a polling place in Springdale, Ark., in this Tuesday, May 21, 2002 file photo. Duggar was running for the U.S. Senate against incumbant Tim Hutchinson in the republican primary election. Dugger's sons Jason, 2, is pictured left, followed by Josiah, 5. (AP Photo/April L. Brown)
FILE - In a Thursday, Aug. 2, 2007 file photo, Michelle Duggar, left, is surrounded by her children and husband Jim Bob, top left, while she holds her newborn daughter, and 17th child, Jennifer Danielle, in Rogers, Ark. Michelle Duggar, the 42-year-old Arkansas mom of 18 and a soon-to-be grandmother, is pregnant again, she said Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2009. (AP Photo/Beth Hall, File)
Michelle Duggar, left, is surrounded by her children and husband Jim Bob, top left, while she holds her newborn daughter, Jennifer Danielle, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2007 in Rogers, Ark. Jennifer Danielle was born at 10:01 a.m., weighed 8 lbs 8 oz, was 21 inches long, and is the 17th child born to Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar. (AP Photo/Beth Hall)
GOOD MORNING AMERICA - One of America's largest families, the Duggars, talk about their new book on GOOD MORNING AMERICA, 3/11/14, airing on the ABC Television Network. They are pictured in GMA's Social Square with Dan Harris. (Photo by Ida Mae Astute/ABC via Getty Images) DUGGAR FAMILY, DAN HARRIS
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 11: The Duggar family 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)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 11: The Duggar family 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)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 11: AJ Calloway (L) interviews the Duggar family during their visit to '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)
WOODBRIDGE, VA - OCTOBER 16: Reality telvision celebrities, Jim Bob Duggar, center, and his wife, Michelle Duggar make a stop on their 'Values Bus Tour' outside Heritage Baptist Church on Wednesday October 16, 2013 in Woodbridge, VA. (Photo by Matt McClain/ The Washington Post via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 11: The Duggar family 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)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 11: The Duggar family 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)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 11: The Duggar family 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)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 11: The Duggar family 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)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 11: (L-R) Jessa Duggar, Jinger Duggar, Jill Duggar, and Jana Duggar visit '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)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 11: AJ Calloway (L) poses with Jim Bob Duggar (R) and wife Michelle Duggar during their visit to '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)
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)
TODAY -- Pictured: The Duggar Family appears on NBC News' 'Today show (Photo by Peter Kramer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 11: AJ Calloway (L) interviews the Duggar family during their visit to '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)
Michelle Duggar holds her newborn daughter, Jennifer Danielle, who was born at 10:01 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 2, 2007 in Rogers, Ark. Jennifer Danielle weighed 8 lbs 8 oz, was 21 inches long, and is the 17th child born to Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar. (AP Photo/Beth Hall)
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Since 2008, the series -- TLC's most watched, averaging 3.2 million viewers -- had chronicled the family life of Arkansas couple Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar and their children, now numbering 19. It was pulled from the network in May when reports surfaced that 27-year-old Josh Duggar, the oldest child, had fondled four of his sisters and a baby sitter a dozen years earlier, when he was a teenager. He has never been arrested or charged in connection with the molestations.

Josh Duggar apologized for unspecified actions on a Facebook post and resigned from the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian group, where he had worked as a lobbyist.

Two weeks later, the Duggar parents were interviewed on Fox News Channel, as were Jill and Jessa Duggar, who said they weren't aware the fondling had happened until Josh confessed years later and their parents told them about it.

The show had ended its 10th season when the scandal broke; Hulu quickly pulled it from its offerings.

"We took it as an opportunity to step further than just 'How do we protect ourselves?' and step into 'How do we protect our audience and protect children?'" Kaplan said. "Our hope is to do more of that, in a way that's thoughtful and respectful of the victims of child abuse — in the Duggar family and across America."

TLC is partnering with Darkness to Light, whose mission is providing interested parties with techniques for protecting children from sexual abuse, and RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), which describes itself as the nation's largest anti-sexual-violence organization.

"We anticipate this will be a long-term partnership with them," Kaplan said.

"The goal is to take what has been a difficult and painful experience, and focus that attention on the really critical issue of child protection and child sexual abuse," she said, adding that several filmmakers are under consideration for the planned documentary.

Kaplan admitted to having been "completely unaware" of the pervasiveness of child abuse.

"I have learned a lot about this issue since," she said, citing incidence figures as high as one among every 10 young people.

"This is a fundamental problem in this country, so we've become quite passionate (at TLC) about making sure that we educate people," she said. "We feel like we have a real obligation and an opportunity to create a moment here for people to be educated and for victims to find ways to come forward."

When asked the Duggars' response to having their long-running show axed, Kaplan pointed to the expected participation in the documentary by two of the family's affected daughters.

"They're interested in putting the focus on this issue, too," she said.

While it's hardly typical for any network to drop its biggest show, this is not the first time Kaplan has pulled the plug on a successful series suddenly caught up in scandal.

Last October, TLC yanked its reality series about child beauty-pageant contestant Honey Boo Boo and her Georgia family after the completion of filming an upcoming season of "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo." While the network didn't identify a reason for the cancellation, it came after published reports that the family matriarch, June Shannon, was dating a convicted child molester.

"TLC is faithfully committed to the children's ongoing comfort and well-being," TLC said in a statement.

TLC is in the midst of repositioning itself as "a brand with purpose," said Kaplan, since 1997 an executive with parent Discovery Communications who took over TLC a year ago.

One example: "I Am Jazz," a sensitive, illuminating unscripted series about transgender teen Jazz Jennings and her close-knit family. It premiered this week.

"It's no secret that '19 Kids and Counting' was a really, really hit show," said Kaplan, acknowledging the scale of that loss. "But we have some other great shows, both on the air and in the pipeline."

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