Counting On: Duggars Facing Cancelation Due to Plummeting Ratings?

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At this point, the Duggars oversee a multi-faceted business empire with controlling interests in fields as wide-ranging as social media influence peddling and used car sales.

In other words, despite Jim Bob's alleged hoarding and an ever-growing number of mouths to feed, the Duggars will be just fine, financially speaking, for the foreseeable future.

Jim Bob Duggar and Michelle Duggar on Vacation

But their considerable wealth, doesn't appear to have made the Duggars reckless with their spending.

Quite the opposite, in fact.

The family seems to be forever in search of the next profitable venture, whether legitimate (Tontitown locals say Jim Bob is always buying up new property to "flip") or otherwise (Jill and Derick Dillard's donation requests have drawn the ire of fans and gotten the couple kicked off of fundraising sites).

But while their sights are always set on the next investment, the Duggars are said to be ever mindful of where it all began.

In turn, they're all too aware that they'd likely be in dire financial straits were it not for their involvement in the world of reality television.

Things started off modestly, of course, with a one-off TLC special entitled 17 Kids and Counting.

As public interest in the Duggars grew, so did the family, with 19 Kids and Counting eventually becoming one of the most talked about reality series on TV.

But the Duggars; time at the top was short-lived.

In 2015, the revelation that eldest son Josh Duggar had molested five young girls and had been aided by his parents in hiding his crimes from authorities shocked the world.

The show began to hemorrhage viewers and advertisers until TLC was finally forced to cancel its highest-rated series.

But in a move that surprised no one who's familiar with either the cutthroat nature of the television industry or Jim Bob's relentless  quest for a buck, it didn't stay off the air.

The Duggars were granted a second shot at reality fame on the condition that they agree to never again feature Josh on camera.

It was an inevitable compromise, and so, perhaps, was its failure.

Josh and Anna Duggar with Family

TLC and the Duggars both overplayed their hands and underestimated the extent to which the public was appalled at the charges against Josh.

The confusingly renamed Counting On was launched far too soon, its cynical ambitions too apparent to even the most naïve viewers.

As a result, despite the fact that the Duggars were already a proven property, the show started with a smaller audience than 19 Kids.

That viewership then began to steadily decline almost from day one.

Now, as another season of Counting On draws to a close, the powers that be at TLC have yet to announce a renewal.

Many fans - those who are left - are beginning to fret that the Duggars time on television has finally come to a close.

Jeremy and Jinger Vuolo, Joseph and Kendra Duggar

Despite a shift in focus to the next generation of Duggars coming of age (see newlyweds Jinger and Joseph, above), the writing may be on the wall.

No good thing lasts forever ... and this has been less than good in the eyes of a growing chorus of critics for far too long as it is.

Of course, the Duggars have filmed in secret in the past, so it's very possible that the show will go on and there's just not a lot of hype.

Those low-key days are long gone, though.

Back when the show was in its infancy and producers didn't want to attract attention to the set, that made sense. Nowadays?

This time, the likeliest explanation is that TLC execs are weighing their options and considering if it's worth continuing.

Is a program with a minute share of the key demographic worth such constant PR nightmares, week after week?

Again, nothing is official, and it remains possible that the Duggars will be renewed for another (likely final) season.

But even if that turns out to be the case, we now know that it won't be a decision their network arrived at easily.

Odds are 50-50 at best, we'd say.

We'll have further updates on this developing story as more information becomes available in the coming weeks.

As always, you can follow the link to watch Counting On online for more from reality TV's most controversial family.

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Duggar Family Quotes

When you've missed [sex] for seven days, you look forward to it even more! - Michelle Duggar

Anyone can fix him lunch, but only one person can meet that physical need of love that he has, and you always need to be available when he calls. - Michelle Duggar on saying yes (yes, and more yes) to sex