Josh Duggar’s astonishing fall from grace took place almost two years ago exactly, and it looks like that was long enough on the sidelines:
TLC has green lighted his return ... with a catch.
According to a bombshell new report, when Counting On Season 4 premieres June 12, you can expect he will finally play a role on it.
The network itself has yet to make this announcement, but the report claims that Josh’s return is all but confirmed ... with stipulations.
A source acknowledges close to production acknowledges the obvious, stating that “nobody thought TLC would ever allow him on again.”
So what changed? Everything ... and nothing at the same time.
Falling ratings were such a concern for controversial patriarch Jim Bob Duggar that he reportedly “devised a plan to save his family’s show.”
Apparently, he's running out of daughters and courtships, because his elaborate plan was to convince TLC that Josh be allowed back.
According to insiders, TLC finally caved.
Executives have agreed to let him film an upcoming Counting On webisode where he’ll talk about his joy about becoming a father again.
Recently, we learned that Anna Duggar is pregnant with her fifth child; Anna withheld sex from Josh for a long, long time prior to that.
Josh will also appear on the next season of Counting On, though it's unclear if he will do so exclusively in this one-off webisode format.
In any case, it's ironic that Josh returning to Counting On is, in part, a shameless ploy to generate buzz and counter declining ratings.
After all, it was because of his child molesting, cheating ways that 19 Kids and Counting got canceled and he got 86'd from the reboot.
It's not as if advertisers have lost all clout, so if this is really going forward, we have to imagine TLC and/or Jim Bob cleared it with sponsors.
Perhaps after two years, the tide has simply turned and Josh Duggar has been forgiven by fans and advertisers alike for his transgressions?
The fact that Josh molested several sisters as a teenager could have, in some ways, been chalked up to him being a troubled youth.
Jim Bob and Michelle tried to essentially cover it up, then downplay this "inappropriate touching over clothes," though. That didn't sit well.
Then came news that the family values lobbyist used Ashley Madison to cheat on his long-suffering wife and he was persona non grata.
A long stint in Christina sex rehab labor camp ensued, and while he somehow didn't lose his marriage, he did lose his reality TV lifestyle.
He's selling cars to pay the bills these days.
Evidently not very well, either. Is this the Duggars' way of trying to save their show, as well as save their first-born son from himself?
The inner workings of the Tontitown PR machine may be shrouded in mystery, but he's got four kids to support and another on the way.
Even with Jim Bob Duggar's net worth, he's still got about 10 minor children; Josh has five more, which will strain finances real quick.
Perhaps his play to get Josh back into the fold is motivated by financial survival as much as forgiveness, or a combination of the two?
Again, it's unclear how much of a part he'll play on Counting On, but if nothing else, this may signal an end to his outright ban from TLC.
Since his fall from grace, he's obviously had no storylines, and even when he's attended watershed family events, he's been edited out.
Producers have had him artfully hide from the cameras using various techniques, or cut him out of footage whenever they can (see above).
Obviously, this happened for a reason.
There are plenty of Duggar fans who are disgusted, and rightfully so, by the things he did, and if they ever saw him again it'd be too soon.
A gradual reintroduction to Josh looks inevitable at this point, however, and only time will tell how it's handled - and how the faithful will react.