All good things must come to an end, as the old saying goes. In other news, all reality TV shows eventually run their course.
Whether you love, hate or love to hate them, it’s been over a decade on TLC for the Duggars, a mightily impressive streak.
One that may be about to a conclusion.
As has been the case for the last 3-4 years, TLC is not making any public assurances regarding the future of Counting On.
Ever since 19 Kids & Counting was canceled and rebranded as Counting On, the Duggar family has been on very thin ice.
Just the same, the reality TV empire survived, thanks in large part to a pivot away from the parents to their oldest childen.
That, though, has left Jim Bob Duggar with a problem on multiple fronts, as both his kids and his employers may be done.
Yes, according to multiple reports, the Counting On stars are tired of TV and demanding time off from their handler (Jim Bob).
Soon, if TLC executives don’t pull the plug on the show for them, the young adults may put an end to the practice altogether.
Jill, Jessa, Joy-Anna and company are reportedly eager “to carry on with their lives,” and those who are still single agree.
One of the biggest reasons the kids don’t want the cameras following their every move is so they can court in peace.
Granted, Duggar courtship rules require chaperones at all times anyway, but younger siblings are different than TV crews.
At least one of them figured this out.
“John David kept his relationship quiet and hidden so he could enjoy time without press,” an insider explained last week.
Seen above with fiancee Abby Burnett, John David had been a sparse presence on Counting On for the last few years.
Clearly that was a calculated move.
To be clear, cancelation rumors have been swirling for years as Counting On declines in ratings and increases in controversy.
So far, a loyal fan base and an emerging group of younger stars and in-laws has kept the Duggars afloat. But for how long?
The network already had to fire Josh Duggar, and relegate Jim Bob and Michelle to very minor roles, after his sex scandals.
Facing even more pressure from advertisers, the network then also had to dispatch Jill Duggar’s husband Derick Dillard.
How many more hits can it take?
These days, Counting On mainly focuses on the marriages of Jinger and Jeremy, Joy-Anna and Austin, and Joe and Kendra.
All three young couples are striking out on their own, and have taken up the bulk of the screen time so far this summer.
It also features Josiah and John David, both of whom are are currently in relationships, and Jana Duggar, who is famously single.
(Unless you believe those rumors swirling around the 28-year-old “Cinderella” Duggar and BFF Laura DeMasie, above.)
In any case, with Jill out of the picture, there’s been another changing of the guard this summer, making for an uncertain future.
Jessa Duggar, who was also courting when 19 Kids first became Counting On, has begun to fade into the background as well.
The million-dollar question remains:
Is there enough interest in the new-new generation (call it Duggar 2.5) to sustain an entire show for another several years?
Perhaps they can continue to strike a precarious balance to keep the network, its advertisers, and themselves happy for now.
After all, they do need to make money … something they don’t exactly have the necessary skills or experience to help with.
We discussed earlier today how Jim Bob has robbed his daughters of careers at the same time he built this TV juggernaut.
How’s that for irony?
In any case, you can be sure that the Duggars are aware of this and won’t take the decision to pull the plug on the show lightly.
A source tells Radar that for now, the kids “will continue to film the show as long as they can because it is their biggest source of income.”
At the same time, though, they “need to time to focus on their families,” which may put them in direct conflict with their TLC gig.
That assumes TLC even wants to keep airing it, which is a different story, especially in light of some truly damaging scandals.
One more Derick Dillard comment about Jazz Jennings, or pretty much anything else, could put an end to that very, very fast.