TLC pulls '19 Kids and Counting' after molestation reports

Fri May 22, 2015 4:56pm EDT
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By Daina Beth Solomon

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - U.S. cable network TLC said on Friday it has pulled all episodes of "19 Kids and Counting," its top-rated television reality show featuring a large Christian family, after reports surfaced that the eldest son had molested underage girls as a teen.

Josh Duggar, 27, the son, issued an apology Thursday, acknowledging "wrongdoing," but did not directly address allegations reported by In Touch magazine and other websites.

"We are deeply saddened and troubled by this heartbreaking situation, and our thoughts and prayers are with the family and victims at this difficult time," TLC said in a statement.

TLC, which is owned by Discovery Communications, did not say if it was planning to cancel the show. The program, which has been on the air since 2008 and concluded its 10th season this month, is not currently in production.

The show chronicles the struggles and triumphs of the conservative family of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, in Arkansas. It concluded its 10th season this month.

Josh Duggar issued a statement Thursday saying he felt remorse.

"Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. I hurt others, including my family and close friends," he said in the statement, posted on the Duggar Family Facebook page.

Duggar also resigned from his job at the Family Research Council, a Christian lobbying group based in Washington, D.C.   Continued...

Josh Duggar in Ames, Iowa on August 9, 2014.  REUTERS/Brian Frank/Files