Now that the Duggars’ return to TV looks imminent, some observers are speculating whether TLC ever intended to sack the show for good.
Despite yanking 19 Kids & Counting off the air, the network never officially canned it, nor did it cast the family aside in any official capacity.
While TLC made efforts to take a break from and distance itself from the Duggars, you can still watch 19 Kids and Counting online.
Lest you think that this was a mere oversight on its part, the network's page for Here Comes Honey Boo Boo was summarily scrapped.
Sorry, June Shannon, Sugar Bear & Co. You're no Duggars.
Instead, it seems as though TLC was preparing for the return of the Duggars from the onset, despite the scandals that besieged them.
By and large, the family has continued using social media to keep their fans engaged, and listing 19 Kids prominently on their profiles.
They’ve also worked to restore their image through TV specials on sexual abuse, and by opening up about the trying events of 2015.
Anna Duggar even poured her heart out on camera.
Indeed, the most compelling evidence to support this theory is that producers continued to film even during the show’s “cancellation.”
Much of this footage surfaced months after the plug was unofficially pulled, as part of December's Jill and Jessa: Counting On specials.
That television "event" was seen as a trial balloon by TLC and family to address, condemn and bury the Josh Duggar scandal for good.
Looks like it worked according to plan. Earlier this month, the Duggars were spotted in public with film crews in their native Arkansas.
Insiders claim that Jana Duggar's love life will be featured, especially since Josiah Duggar's courtship to Marjorie Jackson is kaput.
Having just celebrated her 26th birthday, Jana was spotted filming (and caring for her brothers and sisters, natch) at a lumber yard.
Dubbed "Cinderella Duggar" for her unrelenting commitment to her parents and younger siblings, Jana is a fan favorite for good reason.
Courtships, weddings, pregnancies, and kids are the show's bread and butter, and will likely be the keys to 19 Kids' return episode.
Who better to carry the torch than the untainted Jana?
In any case, we've seen a well-orchestrated management of the family’s public personae and a gradual, but steady return to prominence.
All that's missing now is an official premiere date. And for Josh Duggar to conveniently be stashed away in rehab for the next decade.
Seriously. That dude is pretty much the worst.