Counting On aired its most recent season finale last month, but the TLC series’ future – and the Duggar family’s – is very much up in the air.
Rumors of Counting On being canceled by TLC were fueled by the network deleting a post announcing the show’s renewal for Season 7.
Never a good sign … but is there anything to it?
Fans surely recall that in 2015, 19 Kids and Counting was canceled on the heels of the Josh Duggar molestation and adultery scandals.
Despite that fall from grace, the network repackaged it as Jill and Jessa Duggar: Counting On, not featuring Josh, less than one year later.
The controversial spinoff, later shortened to just Counting On, has chugged along ever since, despite being on thin ice ratings-wise.
Ironically, or perhaps fittingly, ridding the series of Josh Duggar hasn’t made the viewing experience as vanilla as executives might like.
That’s because a new "villain" of sorts has stepped in to take his polarizing place, and one that no one would’ve expected a few years back:
Jill’s husband, Derick Dillard.
Forget about what you see on the air; Derick’s controversial posts and comments on social media may be tearing the Duggars apart.
Things have gotten so bad in recent months that Dillard’s absence from the family’s Facebook page can’t be an accident or coincidence.
The crazy part is how deliberate he is; Duggar family members are all under a microscope, but he goes out of his way to stir the pot online.
Derick sparked controversy online by bashing TLC star Jazz Jennings as an “oxymoron” and saying that being “transgender” is a myth.
While he defends this as freedom of speech instead of bigotry, he doesn’t exactly pass up a chance to publicly share his divisive views.
The question is whether he – and more significantly, his giant family of in-laws – will pay a heavy price for this recurring behavior pattern.
Reports of Derick Dillard cheating on Jill Duggar are likely untrue, but the fact that he’s become a magnet for gossip speaks volumes.
Slowly but surely, he may be sinking this ship.
Counting On began with a smaller audience than 19 Kids, and what remained of the viewership then began to steadily decline further.
The Duggars have managed to stay afloat for two years under those circumstances, but how much more heat can the family endure?
Gossip about the Duggars’ imminent demise isn’t new, in large part because a growing chorus of critics would love to see that day come.
Given the dark cloud that will always linger over the reality series, how long with TLC conclude that it’s worth keeping this on the air?
With Derick emerging as a figure that Duggar detractors hate with a passion, they’re hardly shoring up the support they need at this stage.
If we had to venture guess?
We’d say TLC hasn’t made up its mind one way or another, and is having a lot of internal discussions about the direction they’re going in.
Needless to say, there’s a lot to talk about, and the "right" thing to do isn’t all that clear-cut when you have so many variables in play.
Perhaps the powers that be are waiting to see if any better show ideas come along before rolling the dice on another year of Duggar.
Or the top brass is fully prepared to bring Counting On back but are taking an offseason break from hyping it up in light of recent controversies.
It’s also possible that the show returns with Derick getting the Josh Duggar treatment … sun glare and kids in front of face included.
UPDATE: Derick has been fired by TLC; Dillard went on another unprovoked rant against Jazz Jennings and the network cut ties.
As in all ties. Effective immediately.
Again, it’s not clear how this impacts the future of the show, but the network said in no certain terms that he won’t be featured on it.
It’s also unclear how the family feels, whether the Duggars are outraged or secretly happy remains the subject of much debate.
Follow the above links for details.