The Duggar family starred in the reality-television show entitled “Counting On”, which made its television debut in 2008. It spawned from the original series called “17 Kids and Counting”, changed to “18 Kids and Counting”, and finally to “19 Kids and Counting.” The show featured the lives of the 19 children of parents Jim Bob Duggar and Michelle Ruark of Springdale, Arkansas. The spin-off series was created and produced after the original show was canceled in 2015 due to allegations of sexual molestation against one of the children. Another spinoff series, “Counting On” was also was canceled, in 2021, after one of the children was arrested accused of child pornography.
- 1 Meet The Duggar Family
- 2 The Duggar Family and their TV journey
- 3 The popularity of “19 Kids and Counting”, and its controversial cancelation
- 4 “Counting On” abrupt cancelation in 2020
- 5 An update on the “Counting On” 19 Kids in 2022
Meet The Duggar Family
Jim Bob Duggar and Michelle Ruark – The Parents
James Robert Duggar was born on 18 July 1965, in Springdale, Arkansas. He met Michelle Ruark after she experienced a religious conversion in the Baptist Church – he was among the group who was assigned by church elders to give her a follow-up visit.
They fell in love, and they were married after Michelle’s high school graduation in 1984, with both opting to forgo college – Jim Bob was then 19 years old and Michelle just 17. Instead of working for other people, they opened a used car business, and later on they both became licensed real estate agents. They were successful, and through the years bought several commercial properties in Arkansas. He also tried his hand in politics, and served in the Arkansas House of Representatives from 1999 to 2002.
The Duggar Children (10 boys and 9 girls with two miscarriages)
In the early years of their marriage, Jim Bob and Michelle used birth control pills just like other young couples, because they both wanted to wait before having children. Michelle eventually gave birth to the eldest, Joshua in 1988, and then resumed using the pills, however, despite using contraceptives, she became pregnant again but had a miscarriage.
Even without knowing the baby’s gender, the couple named the baby Caleb – their doctor informed them that there were cases of women conceiving even after using contraceptives which would often lead to miscarriages.
After learning this, the couple stopped using the birth control pills. and left everything to God’s will. As a result, she gave birth almost every year: the first set of twins John David and Jana (1990), Jill (1991), Jessa (1992), Jinger (1993), Joseph (1995), Josiah (1996), Joy-Anna (1997), the second set of twins Jedidiah and Jeremiah (1998), Jason (2000), James (2001), Justin (2002), Jackson (2004), Johannah (2005), Jennifer (2007), Jordyn-Grace (2008), and the youngest Josie Brooklyn (2009). In 2011, Michelle became pregnant for the 20th time, but had a miscarriage 20 weeks into her pregnancy, but still named her Jubilee Shalom.
Of course, viewers have often wondered how Jim Bob and Michelle maintained a happy and peaceful vibe at home with so many kids.
Organized chaos! Cool off and celebrate a little Christmas in August with the Duggars…starting NOW on #CountingOn.
Posted by Counting On on Tuesday, August 25, 2020
The couple have said that it hasn’t been easy, but establishing a set of household guidelines very early on did the trick; they have the Duggar Family Rules that all of their kids know by heart, comprised of 12 acts that they should always follow including keeping promises, thinking of others before themselves, saying I love you, and listening to their parents.
The Duggar Family and their TV journey
Having a huge family resulted in Jim Bob and Michelle being featured in a series of documentaries aired on the TLC cable network, including “14 Children and Pregnant Again,” “Raising 16 Children,” and “On the Road with 16 Children.” The high turnout of viewership ratings for these TV specials led to a full-blown reality-TV series called “17 kids and Counting”, subsequently changing twice to become “18 kids and Counting”, then “19 kids and Counting, and would have changed again if not for Michelle’s miscarriage.
10 seasons were aired over a span of eight years, with a total of 229 episodes, each with a running time of 20 to 45 minutes, produced by Figure 8 Films for the TLC cable network. The first episode aired on 29 September 2008 and the finale episode on 19 May 2015.
After six months, a spin-off series entitled “Counting On” was created, picking-up where the original series left off, but without the eldest child Josh, whose scandal became the main reason the original TV show ended abruptly. This series started with only three episodes in its first season, a test to see if they still had an audience; it was well received, and so another season was ordered with eight episodes. Everything seemed back to normal in the Duggar universe, and it stayed on TV for 11 seasons and close to 100 episodes before it was ordered canceled by the TLC network executives; the final episode aired on 22 September 2020.
The popularity of “19 Kids and Counting”, and its controversial cancelation
TLC’s most-watched TV show in 2015
The show consistently enjoyed immense popularity for 10 seasons – viewers loved the concept of the show and the Duggar family, especially as the children captivated the hearts of the audience. At one point, it was TLC’s most-watched reality-TV series with an average of close to 2.5 million viewers per episode in its lfinal season, according to Nielsen landing in the Top 14 on the overall cable viewership in May 2015, with only “Game of Thrones,” NBA Playoff Games, and WWE Entertainment Shows occupying the first 13 spots.
Suspension due to sexual molestation police report
The show was suspended from airing any re-runs as there was an exclusive report by In Touch Weekly about Josh Duggar, who was investigated by the police because of alleged sexual molestation charges in 2006.
The police report stated that his father, Jim Bob, waited more than a year after Josh made his confession before reporting it to the authorities – he shared it with his elders at the Baptist Church, and it took the elders three months to report it to a State Trooper. The said report was concealed from the public, and was only procured by the magazine via a request using the Freedom of Information Act. Details revealed shocked many people, especially since it involved forcible fondling of five minors – some offenses were considered felonies.
The sexual molestations happened multiple times when the victims were sleeping, back in 2002 when Josh was 14 years old – the parents disciplined him upon learning about it. However, it happened again about nine months later in 2003. It was then that the church elders contacted State Trooper Jim Hutchens, who was a personal friend of Jim Bob. Instead of officially filing a report about the offenses, Officer Hutchens only talked to Josh, and warned him of the possible consequences of his actions.
A lot of people were dismayed at the state trooper’s actions back then, however, it was found out that the retired Officer Hutchens was guilty of child pornography himself, and is currently incarcerated.
Oprah Winfrey’s studio filed a report about it
There was only a formal police investigation conducted in 2006, because Harpo Studios reported the alleged sexual molestation. Apparently, the cast of “19 Kids and Counting” were scheduled to appear on Oprah when they received an email written by a 61-year-old concerned female viewer, which was forwarded to the Department of Human Services hotline, and a formal investigation ensued by the Springdale police department. However, the police couldn’t go any further in pursuing the case due to the three-year statute of limitations. In May 2015, a judge ordered the police to destroy the record of investigation of Josh Duggar.
“Counting On” abrupt cancelation in 2020
Both the Duggar family and the fans thought everything had returned to normal after Josh’s exclusion from the spin-off series. He was a young teen back then, and was sent to a treatment center. Nobody talked about it, as the victims had forgiven the perpetrator and the case was buried as the statute of limitations had expired; the sexual molestation became a thing of the past.
However, Josh’s addiction to child pornography escalated, and there was a raid in 2019 on his car dealership office which wasn’t revealed to the public. It was found that even with an accountability program installed on his desktop called Covenant Eyes, to monitor his Internet activities, he found a way to access the dark web without the program detecting it. He downloaded child pornography material, and one of the investigators even said that the content found on Josh’s computer was one of the worst sexual pornographic abuse he’d seen in over 1,000 cases he handled in his career.
Jessa Seewald Hard Up For Cash After Losing Brand Partnership! https://t.co/sGNevmOYsn #CountingOn pic.twitter.com/SBEdDG3nCt
— All About The Tea ☕ (@AllAboutDaTea) February 9, 2022
The investigation was revealed to the public in 2021, and since he was no longer a minor, charges were filed against Josh.
In July 2021, the TLC network canceled the “Counting On” TV series, and on 9 December 2021, Josh Duggar was found guilty on two counts of receiving and possessing child pornography. During the seven-day trial, shocking and disgusting multi-media materials were shown, that featured an infant and children below 12 years old.
An update on the “Counting On” 19 Kids in 2022
About two years have passed since the spin-off series ended, and loyal viewers were curious as to what happened to the “Counting On” 19 Duggar kids. The Duggar Family Tree grew more branches, and some of them built a family of their own. Everyone seems to have moved on, and have been living on the right path.
Jana and John David – The Twins
Being the eldest daughter, she was the first to have a social media presence, and started sharing about her life, business, and faith through her Instagram account; she’s also into home interior decorating. Her twin, John David, was married in 2018 to a woman named Abby, whom he claimed was his gift from God along with his baby girl.
Jill, Jessa, Jinger, and Joy-Anna – The ‘90s babies
Jill was the very first Duggar daughter to distance herself from some of her relatives and left the spin-off series “Counting On” in 2017. She and her husband admitted through a series of videos that they weren’t on good terms with some members of her family, and so felt it was best to take some time off to heal. She became a wife to Derick Dillard in 2014, and became a mother to Israel David and Samuel Scott. Her third pregnancy ended in miscarriage in October 2021, but they named the baby River Bliss.
Jessa fell in love with Ben Seewald, and was married in 2014, since when they’ve had four children: Spurgeon Elliot, Henry Wilberforce, Ivy Jane, and Fern Elliana.
Jinger got herself a former professional soccer player named Jeremy Vuolo, and they were married in 2016. The couple has two daughters, Felicity Nicole in July 2018 and Evangeline Jo in November 2020, later sharing that she also suffered a miscarriage between the two pregnancies.
Joy-Anna married Austin Forsyth in 2014, and just like some of her sisters, she too suffered a miscarriage after having their eldest, Gideon Martyn. However, she didn’t give up, and tried again with success in August 2020, naming her baby daughter Evelyn Mae.
Joseph, Josiah with the twins Jedediah, and Jeremiah
Joseph married Kendra in 2017, and have three children – Garreth David, Addison Renee and Brooklyn Praise. Josiah married a woman named Lauren in January 2018 and after she also suffered a miscarriage, they’ve been blessed with daughter Bella Milagro.
Out of all the 19 children, it was Jedediah also known as Jed, who followed in Jim Bob’s footsteps and tried his hand at politics.
He ran for Governor in Arkansas after he was exposed to public service, having worked as a legislative assistant in the Arkansas State Capitol, but he wasn’t as lucky as his father because he lost in the election. He married Katey Nakatsu in April 2021 and became father to a son in September 2021. His twin, Jeremiah, became engaged to Hannah Wissmann in January 2022. Aside from being a licensed real estate broker, he recently became a certified flight instructor. He said he’s looking forward to having children of his own.
Gen Z Boys – Jason, James, Justin, Jackson
Except for Justin who married Claire Spivey in February 2021, all the other Gen Z Duggar boys are still single, and busy with their chosen careers. Jason established his construction business even before he officially became an adul,t and now he’s a licensed general contractor.
James followed his childhood interest which was fixing things. Growing up, he would go around fixing household appliances, even taking them apart so that he could modify them; he became the family’s resident handyman. He also acquired a commercial driving license, and can drive huge trucks and heavy machinery.
Posted by Counting On on Thursday, October 17, 2019
Jackson, the youngest son, was homeschooled just like his siblings and the last time the Duggars shared a photo of him on their Instagram account was in November 2021. He was beside a dead buck that he shot, and his parents were complimenting their son’s shooting and cooking skills.
Gen Z Girls – Johannah, Jennifer, Jordyn-Grace, Josie
In 2018, the youngest four Duggar girls released an album with their niece Mackenzie Duggar, entitled “Happy Heart.” It was a collection of nine scripture-based songs, and included “The Star-Spangled Banner”.
Jordyn Grace was taught to play the piano and violin and from time to time performs in recitals.
Johanna, the family’s 16th child was being raised to be an active member of the Institute for Basic Life Principles, founded by Bill Gothard just like her siblings. She has more responsibilities in the family now since five of her older sisters married and moved out of the home.
Jennifer was often described by her family as the thoughtful and methodical one. Josie is the youngest in the Duggar family and the 19th child, born prematurely via caesarian section at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. She was sickly as a baby as she was only around one pound and six ounces or about 2kgs when she was born. The family even moved temporarily out of their home in Springdale to Little Rock, because she stayed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit or NICU for quite some time. She’s now healthy and being homeschooled.
Michelle said that raising 19 kids can be quite difficult but she doesn’t have any regrets. One of the famous child-rearing tips that she shared was ‘It’s important that when I call their names, I get their eyes and have their attention.’ She explained that if she didn’t get their eyes, she would surely not have their heart. Despite the scandal with the eldest Duggar child, their fans continue to be inspired by the way she and Jim Bob raise their children.