For a while, it looked as though the TLC had decided to cancel Counting On after years of declining ratings and a string of ugly scandals.
Against all odds, however, the Duggars have returned to the network that made them famous with an eleventh season of their signature series.
But if you haven’t heard much talk about the new episodes of Counting On, you’re certainly not alone.
Outside the tiny corners of the internet that are devoted to discussion of all things Duggar, conversation about the show has been nearly non-existent.
There are several reasons for this, not the least of which is the aforementioned ratings slump.
Many viewers — or former viewers, as the case may be — seem to believe that the most interesting storylines in the Duggars’ lives are the ones that occur off-camera.
The feud between Jim Bob Duggar and Derick Dillard, for example, has captivated fans for months.
But Derick was fired from Counting On way back in 2017, and the rest of the Duggars would never dare mention his beef with Jim Bob on camera.
And if they did, it would almost certainly never make it to air.
Meanwhile, Joy-Anna Duggar is pregnant once again after suffering a heartbreaking miscarriage last year.
But she and Austin Forsyth appear to have stepped away from the world of reality TV, and thus, will not be offering any firsthand accounts of their struggles on Counting On this season.
So those are the obvious causes of the show’s declining popularity as a source of online gossip.
Exacerbating this situation is the fact that Counting On is no longer TLC’s number one cash cow — that would be 90 Day Fiance and its many spin-offs — which means the network is not spending nearly as much money promoting the show.
But apparently, TLC execs are blaming the plummeting numbers on a less apparent issue — namely, spoilers.
Fans and certain media outlets — primarily Soap Dish — are convinced that the women of the Duggar clan have been instructed to stop posting so much information about their personal lives on social media.
Now, it seems unlikely that anyone stopped watching Counting On because of ruined plot twists.
This isn’t Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad, after all.
But apparently, TLC has decided to address the problem by encouraging Jana, Jessa, and Jinger to post less often and to post less personal information.
Fans believe this is most evident on Jinger’s page.
They feel that the 26-year-old — who is currently pregnant with her second child — has shied away in recent weeks from the sort of highly personal content she used to post.
They blame this on the influence of corporate suits, but it’s important to bear in mind that there might be another reason for the shift in tone.
Recent rumors about Jeremy Vuolo cheating on Jinger are based entirely on his social media activity.
To be clear, these rumors are almost certainly bogus.
The Vuolos have not addressed the controversy, and it seems unlikely that they ever will.
But they’re undoubtedly aware of it, and it’s not hard to see how it might have made them a little more cautious about what they share on social media.
And if Jinger can also make her bosses happy by being a little guarded with the content she shares, we’re sure that’s a welcome bonus.