SHOWS COPE WITH OFF-SCREEN DRAMA
‘19 Kids and Counting’ is latest series to face scandal
The Duggars might be seeking forgiveness. But will Madison Avenue listen?
Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, the stars of hit TLC reality show “19 Kids and Counting,” will make a bid to save their TV careers Wednesday when they talk with Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly. It will be the family’s first TV sit-down since Josh Duggar, the eldest son in the Arkansas family, admitted to inappropriate contact with several underage girls when he was a teenager.
The revelation — which counters the Duggars’ image as a deeply religious and wholesome clan — was met with outrage and anger on social media, eliciting such hashtags as #CancelTheDuggars, #DitchTheDuggars and #BoycottTLC.
But the toughest blows came from companies such as Walgreens, Payless Shoe Source, Choice Hotels, Pure Leaf Iced Tea and General Mills, which all said they would no longer be running ads on the show. The Discovery Networks-owned TLC has pulled “19 Kids and Counting” re- runs from its lineup and has given no indication that the series will go back into production. Streaming giant Hulu, which also carries ads, has dropped the program as well.
Even if the Duggars can drum up public sympathy with their scheduled TV interview, getting sponsors to support the family’s TV endeavors again may be an insurmountable challenge. Advertisers traditionally avoid having their products or services associated with scandal or controversy, and with so many TV choices today, there are a multitude of other places to run their spots.
Janet Janjigian, executive managing director of the business consulting service Carmen Group West, said TLC would be better served by stating its intentions for the future of the show. The network has repeatedly declined to comment.
“There’s a great deal to be said for just cutting your losses as a network and moving on,” Janjigian said.
Of course, TLC may have already decided to do that and just hasn’t announced it yet.
Here’s a look at other shows in recent TV history that have had to cope with off-screen dramas:
MEMBERS OF the Duggar family star in the TLC reality series “19 Kids and Counting.” Josh Duggar, the eldest son, has admitted to inappropriate contact with several underage girls when he was a teenager.