TLC Boss Hounded by Press at TCA, Defends Network’s Handling of Duggar Sex Scandal

Courtesy of TLC

When TLC general manager Nancy Daniels introduced a panel for the network’s upcoming looking-for-love series “Single Dad Seeking” at Thursday’s Television Critics Association press tour, she probably was not anticipating that she instead would become the focus of attention.

With three male cast members sitting on stage — all white — the first question asked was about the series’ apparent lack of racial diversity.

Daniels said that TLC exerted widespread, diverse efforts in their casting search, but the chosen cast members — white and straight — were simply the best fit for the show. A second season, she promised, would be broader.

Coming off a year full of scandal for the reality TV cabler, reporters questioned her decision-making process to do what seems like preemptive damage-control by implementing diverse casting. “Over the years, our screening process has evolved in many ways,” she said.

That scandal, of course, was surrounding the Duggar family — stars of the net’s former hugely popular “19 Kids and Counting” — when news surfaced that cast member and eldest son Josh Duggar had sexually molested teenage girls, including his sisters Jill and Jessa, who were also cast members on the now-canceled series, which was yanked from the schedule following the sex scandal. The year prior, TLC canceled “Honey Boo Boo” when allegations of the series’ star Mama June dating a convicted child molester made headlines.

“Every decision we’ve made has been done very thoughtfully and very carefully about what is in the best interests of the people involved and the network,” Daniels said. “Our first priority is making sure that there’s a health and well-being of our families first and foremost. We feature stories of different families with real people and real things happen.”

As the panel ended, the final question once again diverted from “Single Dad Seeking,” asking Daniels about the future of the Duggars at TLC, namely Jill and Jessa, who recently starred in their own three-part special.

“We just aired the three specials during the holidays. They did very well,” a clearly-frustrated Daniels said, citing the viewership of more than three million. “The audience clearly cares about these girls.”

As for the possibility of more episodes or a series centering around the sisters, Daniels said, “We’re still talking and considering it, but we have not made a decision yet.”

Several journalists at TCA reacted on Twitter to the panel:

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 10

Leave a Reply


Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Cheryl Foltz says:

    Where did “sweeping under the rug” come in to play? The Duggers followed up by getting help for Josh and even turned him in to the authorities. I am a mother and I personally would not broadcast my son’s crime. I would acknowledge it if ask though and I think that is what happened. I, on the other hand, do not believe one can over come being a child molester, which brings a question, is he one? In his teens was he curious, in the obviously grossly wrong and is he currently molesting children or committing adultery. Should his family suffer his sins? Something to think about.

  2. sewcrafty27 says:

    I agree with everything everyone else has said. TLC used to stand for The Learning Channel. Not anymore. TLC exploits these people. People tune in to see the train wrecks. TLC is only interested in the money. The next scandal is Sister Wives. Take this crap off the air too. This show exploits women and children. Where else can you watch a man with multiple women and 18 kids profit from polygamy. TLC of course. Polygamy is still illegal in the U.S. Would this show still be on the air if this was a family of color.

  3. James Heckel says:

    TLC originally stood for “The Learning Channel.” The programming was educational and worth one’s time. But like many other outlets, they’ve abandoned their original mission to chase ratings, all the way down the rabbit hole. And as an advertiser I don’t think I’d be interested in their audience either.

  4. CoCo Doxie says:

    TLC please stand against exploitation of the Duggar children and grandchildren for ratings and profit.The Duggars hid then minimized incest to keep the gravy train rolling.The Duggars and TLC have done more harm to incest survivors than we could have imagined.Incest is the most horrendous crime against children and according to the Duggars and their supporters incest is no big deal as god has forgiven Josh.Incest survivors are enraged that TLC is playing along with them.Take a stand no more Duggars or their children on TV. The world is waiting TLC !!

  5. Elizabeth Sanders says:

    Please keep the Duggars off of TV!!! They are a disgrace to Christianity!

  6. The Counting On shows had no more than 2.2 million for the second (I think it was) show out of three. That’s a total number as well and not the 18-49 demographic that matters to advertisers. Where Nancy got over three million from is a mystery unless she was adding the three shows together.

  7. cj says:

    Ms. Daniels, clearly more people don’t care about these”girls”. They are grown women who have not been educated and rely on others to pay their way. Don’t you read what is being said about them? Don’t you see the hypocracy in this family? They are not entertaining..stop embarrassing yourself and TLC .

  8. JimG. says:

    The only thing people should be questioning about TLC is the inferior programming it airs at all. The word learning can pertain to a very large umbrella of topics, but the days of the channel’s genuine educational value are long gone. At this point Discovery and TLC should be renamed Reality 1 and Reality 2, History the Conservative Network, HGTV the Home Buying Network, and The Food Network as The Competition Channel. All of these channels have sold their souls; anyone who lowers themselves to watch the mind-numbing bores that they collectively air deserves to find themselves disappointed by shows that are produced with a less than scrupulous undertaking.

  9. ChrisM says:

    How about “Desperate Dads Seeking”? Certainly if these guys really had anything worthwhile to contribute to a relationship they wouldn’t allow TLC to hawk them like prizes in something akin to a game show. Maybe the network should match each one up with one of the many Duggar girls. By adding the Duggars to the mix TLC would be guaranteed to have a built in audience not to mention plenty of women to choose from. Yet another strep backward for what used to be known as The Learning Channel.

  10. Dunstan says:

    When you put social mutants on your network, it’s not whether there will be an implosion but when. I enjoyed Daniels’ corporate-speak but she and her fellow execs have much to answer for.

More TV News from Variety