As Josh Duggar prepares to return to TV for the first time in two years, one can't help but wonder if the ratings ploy may actually backfire.
After all ... Duggar fans and still Duggar fans and Josh is still Josh, the prodigal son who got the family TV show canceled in the first place.
News of Josh Duggar's return to Counting On for the first time in two years since 19 Kids & Counting got canceled surfaced this month.
If nothing else, he will partake in a special "webisode" to talk about his fifth child with his long-suffering, perpetually pregnant wife, Anna.
Insiders say that Josh’s return is part of Jim Bob Duggar’s plan to save Counting On, a.k.a. the rebooted 19 Kids, from getting axed.
Its declining ratings have been notable for some time, despite the fact that the Duggars have had and still have a loyal, sizable following.
Bringing Josh Duggar back into the fold will generate some major buzz ahead of the June 12 premiere, that much is impossible to dispute.
Is all buzz good buzz, though, when it's about a pariah?
Supposedly, his TV comeback comes with a catch.
Josh is ONLY allowed to talk about the joys of fatherhood and the impending birth of his fifth child, another baby boy, with Anna Duggar.
"All that Ashley Madison and molestation stuff? Yeah, it’ll probably be swept under the rug,” said a source close to the TLC show's production.
We didn't expect him to delve into whether he really banged Danica Dillon or who he met on Ashley Madison, or how he molested Jill.
That's obvious. Still, fans would clearly be riveted - love him or hate him - by Josh, in his own words, discussing sex rehab and his marriage.
Splashing Josh's controversial mug on screen without any real purpose (an apology, a confessional, etc.) carries a risk in its own right.
It's likely going to happen in some form or another, as Jim Bob spent a month trying to convince the TLC executives to go along with it.
The aforementioned webisode is a trial balloon of sorts.
If Duggar fans don't stage a coup, Josh will be eased back into Counting On, which has been bleeding advertisers over the past year.
Credit Karma, X Out, Wrigley's, CiCi’s Pizza, and the UPS store have all pulled their ads, and it's tough to see Josh bringing 'em back.
Time heals all wounds if you're Anna Duggar apparently, but unlike advertisers looking to market products, she has nowhere else to go.
Will brands be able to forgive and forget? And even for those who stuck by the Duggars, will they finally reach the end of a long fuse?
“If money is the deciding factor, it seems unlikely that we’ll see Josh Duggar on Counting On" this season, according to a Duggar insider.
"That is, unless Jim Bob’s master plan also involved secretly convincing a bunch of companies that his son isn’t a financial risk."
Financial risk may be driving this in a different way.
In the last few weeks, reports of a depressed Josh Duggar looking unkempt and effing up at work selling cars have permeated the web.
Is this the Duggars' way of not only trying to save their show, but save their first-born son from spiraling even further out of control?
As always, the inner workings of the Tontitown PR machine remain somewhat shrouded in mystery, and all we can do is stay tuned.