It's pretty safe to say that the Duggar family has been one of TLC's biggest audience-grabbers for the last 13 years, putting out around 325 episodes of TV across both 19 Kids and Counting and the most recent iteration Counting On. The latter was cancelled in the aftermath of Josh Duggar's highly publicized arrest on charges of receiving and possessing child pornography. That controversy has obviously been a major setback for many of the Duggars on a personal level - at least those who stuck around this long - but a recent report allegedly shows just how big of a financial setback Counting On's demise will be for Jim Bob Duggar and his ever-growing family.
By and large, Jim Bob Duggar & Co. were bringing in a hefty chunk of change in order to put their lives on display for TLC's Counting On, which lasted for eleven seasons in the six years it aired. And while The Sun's report about the Duggars' financial situation isn't exactly the equivalent to a pile of bank statements, it's stated that the family averaged more than 3/4 of a million dollars for each season that aired. Here's what the outlet's sources said:
The family were roughly paid $80k for each chunk of filming, and some seasons were longer than others, but they were picking up on average $850k a [season]. I think a lot of people will be shocked to learn they were earning that much, and it all went to Jim Bob, who invested some of it for the family, and handed the rest out.
Speaking to the wildly varying episode counts, only once during Counting On's eleven-season run were there back-to-back seasons with the same number of installments - Seasons 6 and 7 featured seven each - while numbers ranged from as low as three episodes in Season 1 to 13 episodes in Season 3. That meant TLC could throw together two seasons a year, which means Jim Bob Duggar was pulling in around $1.7 million a year, presumably before taxes. And it may have been even more in 2017, during which Seasons 4, 5, and 6 all aired. That said, it's unclear if the Duggars were making less per season during the earlier years of the show.
While that's obviously a lot of money in most contexts, one also has to think about how many Duggar family members were involved with filming, and how the money would need to be split up amongst everyone. Although maybe that's not exactly the case, since it was also reported that Jim Bob Duggar allegedly isn't so great about sharing funds accordingly. There have supposedly been arguments behind the scenes concerning Counting On's stars being paid accordingly for the work they put into filming. As such, the cancellation news, while obviously highly unfortunate given the reasoning, allows for Jim Bob and Michelle's children to strike out on their own.
Some family members are glad TLC pulled the plug so they can go off on their own and manage their own money, but Jim Bob is undoubtedly pissed because it was a huge income.
Even under the best circumstances, missing out on more than $850,000 a year would be highly damaging to one's daily life, but Jim Bob Duggar is allegedly worse off in this situation as he's reportedly the person who's been paying for Josh Duggar's legal fees as the son attempts to fight the charges in the months ahead of his November trial. If found guilty, he could face a maximum of 20 years in prison. Considering Counting On only produced one season in 2020, and zero seasons for 2021, the family's troubles may get worse before they get better, which almost definitely won't help the already strained relationships.
While Josh Duggar wasn't even part of the Counting On spinoff, since it was molestation accusations against him that led to the cancellation of 19 Kids and Counting, and that situation still hasn't been fully resolved yet. Could the Duggar family return to TV in another iteration at some point down the road once the disgraced Duggar's legal situation is resolved one way or another? TLC is likely already counting the days the same say Jim Bob Duggar is counting his dollars.