TLC specials to focus on Duggar daughters Jill and Jessa

Duggar Daughters Coming Back to TV


NEW YORK (AP) — Months after a scandal involving a member of the Duggar family shut down TLC's long-running reality hit "19 Kids and Counting," the network is resuming its on-air relationship with the Arkansas brood by starring daughters Jill and Jessa in two or more specials.

Production begins soon on the programs, announced Thursday, with an anticipated airdate by year-end for at least the first of them. Two or three are currently planned, the network said.

So far untitled, they will feature Jill Dillard, 24, who, with her husband, Derick, and their infant son are preparing to move to El Salvador for missionary work, and sister Jessa Seewald, 22, who with her husband Ben is expecting their first child on Nov. 1.

A production source who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the programs will not include 27-year-old Josh Duggar, the oldest of the Duggar siblings and the subject of revelations last May that, as a teenager, had fondled four of his sisters, including Jill and Jessa. More recently he publicly apologized for a pornography addiction and cheating on his wife. The source said he will not appear on any future TLC programming.

Pictures of Jessa Duggar and her growing baby bump:

33 PHOTOS
Ben Seewald and Jessa Duggar
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TLC specials to focus on Duggar daughters Jill and Jessa
So in love with our little man! 😍#BabySeewald Born on 11.05.15 9lbs. 11oz. 21 in.
Every time I look into this precious little face, I can't believe he's really mine! I feel blessed beyond measure! 😍 So in love! #BabySeewald (P.S. Still haven't settled on his middle name! 😊 Looking forward to sharing with y'all as soon as we decide! ❤️) @ben_seewald
34 weeks 2 days! 😃
39 weeks 4 days! Feeling as big as a barn, and soooo ready to meet my baby! 😊 #BabySeewald
Special thanks to the talented @brittonfelber & @ezellon for taking our wedding pictures! So happy we have these special memories documented to look back on! 😍
Havin' a great time with friends tonight at the Razorback game! 🐗
Throwback to our very first date-- 2 years ago, today! 😍😍 September 11th, 2013 #MarketplaceGrill with @ben_seewald ❤️ Love you more today than ever before! 😘
Congratulations Ben & Jessa on your pregnancy! It was so fun to have all 3 of us pregnant together!!!
Credit: TLC
Credit: TLC
Credit: TLC
Credit: TLC
Credit: TLC
Credit: TLC
Credit: TLC
First (and probably the only) snow day of our Arkansas winter! 😃Time for some sledding with my man! 👏👏👏 @ben_seewald
Blessed beyond measure... ❤️ So happy to be sharing our first Valentine's Day together married! @ben_seewald
Loading up in the car after church, and Ben is on the phone with his Pops: "We have 4 of your kids in our car!" Gotta make sure everyone is accounted for! ❤️ So glad to have Ben's family up for a visit this weekend! @seewaldfamily
#StadiumSelfie #WPS 🐗#GoRazorbacks! --with @ben_seewald ❤️
Trying on hats with my cowboy! 😘😍 @ben_seewald
Just uploaded pictures to Facebook of Ben and I with our wedding party! Check them out! www.facebook.com/JessaSeewald
Wonderful evening with my Love, celebrating Asa Hutchinson's governor inauguration!
Tomorrow marks 7 weeks of marriage to this amazing man! So excited to be sharing our first Christmas together married! @ben_seewald, I love you today more than ever! #ElizabethZellonPhotography
Photo Credit: TLC/"19 Kids and Counting"
Photo Credit: TLC/"19 Kids and Counting"
Photo Credit: TLC/"19 Kids and Counting"
Photo Credit: TLC/"19 Kids and Counting"
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: 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)
Credit: TLC
Credit: TLC
Credit: TLC
Credit: TLC
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"What we will be following in these specials is Jessa preparing for her first child," TLC Executive Vice President and General Manager Nancy Daniels told The Associated Press, "and we'll be watching Jill preparing to make a major move to Central America with her family, which we know is something our audience will be interested in."

The project, Daniels said, came together quickly "after talking with the girls and understanding that this was something they wanted to do.

"We know that our audience is really excited about what's been going on with Jill and Jessa as they move into young adulthood," said Daniels. "And now they're both at the precipice of big changes. With what was happening in their lives in the next few months, it felt like now is the time (for the specials), and we got going pretty quickly."

The specials will be following a recent documentary TLC commissioned and aired to raise awareness of child sexual abuse nationwide. Both women participated in that film, titled "Breaking the Silence."

"They thought it was an important issue, and they showed an incredible amount of courage in sharing their story," Daniels said. "We were struck by that courage, and by how they are moving forward. Our audience continues to be engaged with what's going on in their lives.

"There's no doubt it's been a tough few months on the family, and we've obviously been in close contact with them as they've been going through it," Daniels added.

Jill Duggar, her husband and their newborn son:

17 PHOTOS
Jill Duggar
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TLC specials to focus on Duggar daughters Jill and Jessa
So glad these visitors got to pop in for a bit today! @jessaseewald @ben_seewald #sister #brotherinlaw #lovemyfamily
Congrats to my sister Jill! 😃👍🏼👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽
We are looking forward to reconnecting with everyone with the new specials on TLC—many have asked about our mission work and about the challenges of taking our family to a different country, culture and learning a new language. We appreciate your prayers. To keep up with us visit www.dillardfamily.com
Headed to @krispykreme for some free donuts on #PirateDay today! @derickdillard #babypirate #piratefamily
In our second trimester now! "Baby Dilly" is now the size of a fuzzy sweet Georgia peach! #babydilly #secondtrimester #jillmdillard #derickdillard
http://www.people.com/article/jill-duggar-dillard-expecting-son
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 23: Jill Duggar Dillard (ring detail) visits '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)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 23: Jill Duggar Dillard visits '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 - 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 - 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)
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)
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Viewers have watched Jill and Jessa grow up along with their numerous siblings since 2008 on "19 Kids and Counting," which chronicled the family life of Arkansas couple Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar and their children, now numbering 19. A portrait of wholesome family life, it became TLC's most watched series, averaging 3.2 million viewers, until it was pulled from the air in May, then officially canceled in July.

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EDITOR'S NOTE — Frazier Moore is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. He can be reached at fmoore@ap.org and at http://www.twitter.com/tvfrazier. Past stories are available at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/frazier-moore

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