When word of the Josh Duggar sex scandals first went public in 2015, many suspected that the Duggar family’s time in the spotlight would quickly come to an end.
And indeed, shortly thereafter, TLC — the network that made the Duggars famous — canceled 19 Kids and Counting and took steps toward cutting ties with the family.
But in the world of television, ratings are king — and no one can draw an evangelical crowd to a basic cable reality show quite like the Duggars.
We know this because other networks have tried.
The result is shows like Bringing Up Bates.
It has virtually the exact same premise as Counting On, but the Bates family never became household names like the Duggars.
Maybe they were just first to the party, or maybe the Duggars possess an intangible quality that can’t be taught and that audiences respond to in droves.
Whatever the case, the Duggars succeeded where other staggeringly large evangelical families failed.
But these days, the magic seems to be wearing thin.
Following the cancelation of 19 Kids, the Duggars were welcomed back into the TLC family with a spinoff that was originally titled Jill & Jessa: Counting On.
It was agreed that the show would focus less on Jim Bob and more on his kids.
And of course, Josh Duggar would never appear on camera.
With time, the format changed, "Jill and Jessa" was dropped from the title, and the focus shifted back to Jim Bob and Michelle.
At first, it seemed that the Duggar train would continue chugging along until the rapture.
But Counting On ratings have been declining for a while now, and more than two months after the show’s season ten finale, an eleventh season has yet to be announced.
Many fans are holding out hope that the season has simply been postponed until a more eventful time in the Duggars’ lives.
After all, season 10 is gonna hard to beat in terms of drama.
The Duggar baby boom got most of the screentime, but the family had a lot going on in general.
We saw the aftermath of Mary Duggar’s death and the controversy of Jinger Duggar’s move to LA.
So perhaps TLC is just hoping for an equally eventful 2020?
That’s certainly possible, but the fact that the birth of John David Duggar and Abbie Burnett’s first baby was the subject of a one-off special doesn’t bode well for the show’s future.’
After all, if the network is hoping to store up material for a new season, why is it burning usable scenes in specials and online-only short clips?
There’s been no sure sign that TLC is considering not re-upping its contract with the Duggars.
But fans are starting to panic, and it’s not hard to see why.
Even if there is a Counting On Season 11, it’ll likely be delayed for far longer than viewers are accustomed to waiting between seasons.
Of course, for the Duggar obsessives fretting for the show’s future, late is much better than never.