‘Counting On’: Realistically, How Much Money Has the Duggar Family Made From TV?
Derick Dillard has spent the majority of the last several months spilling Duggar family secrets. Derick, who married Jill Duggar, in 2014, seems to have some seriously bad blood with Jim Bob Duggar. He has insisted that Jim Bob is hoarding earnings from the family’s show, and lying to his family about how much money they are making. While it’s hard to pin down the exact amount of money Jim Bob has amassed from the series, we can make an estimated guess.
How long have the Duggar family been on the air?
The Duggar family has a really long history on reality TV. Along with the Roloffs of Little People, Big World, the Duggars are TLCs longest-standing reality TV family. Their first appearance on the network was in the form of a special, back when the family had “only” 14 children. The first special aired in 2004, with three more specials airing in 2006.
The Duggar’s once again appeared in a special in 2007, before they nailed down the details of their weekly show. The first episode of 19 Kids and Counting aired in 2008. The series ran from 2008 until 2015 when it was yanked from the airwaves following back-to-back family scandals. That wasn’t the last the world would hear from the Duggars, though. In 2015, the family returned to TLC with a brand new show. Counting On is still filming, although family followers believe the series will likely be axed sooner rather than later.
How much could they have made from their two shows?
The Duggar family has never spoken about actual payment for their shows. In fact, most reality TV stars will never mention the amount they are paid for their participation, but there is enough data to make an estimated guess. Kate Gosselin, for example, was rumored to be making between $25,000 to $50,000 during the heyday of Jon and Kate Plus 8, according to Romper. The Duggars are assumed to make around the same amount, considering they work with the same network.
19 Kids and Counting ran for several years before being pulled amid Josh Duggar’s sex abuse scandal. Before the show was pulled from the network, 229 episodes aired. The family returned with a new show, Counting On, which was supposed to follow Jill and Jessa Duggar as they started families of their own. Derick insists the series is just 19 Kids and Counting rebranded. Counting On has officially run for ten seasons, although the episode count is much lower than its predecessor’s episode count. Counting On has aired 81 episodes to date.
If we assume that the Duggar family earns between $25,000 to $40,000 per episode, it’s safe to assume they’ve amassed an impressive fortune. Theoretically, the Duggar family earned between $7.7 million and $12.4 million from their two shows. Those figures, of course, don’t factor in legal fees and taxes. The figures also assume the Duggar family has earned the same amount for the duration of their contract with the production company.
Is Jim Bob Duggar keeping all of the earnings for himself?
Derick’s biggest gripe seems to come down to cold, hard cash. The father of two and law school student insisted, back in December 2019, that he and his wife were never paid a dime for their time on Counting On. He has spoken out several times since and has alluded to the notion that none of the Duggar kids have been paid for their time on the show, at least not in the form of cash.
Instead, it looks like Jim Bob chooses to reward some of his children for their continued cooperation in the form of real estate. The Duggar kids, when they get married, appear to be gifted free housing. Some have purchased their homes for basically nothing, while others appear to be living in homes that are owned by Jim Bob.
Joy-Anna Duggar and her husband, Austin Forsyth, recently purchased a home from Jim Bob and Michelle for just $10. Josiah Duggar, Joseph Duggar, and John-David Duggar all live in homes owned by Jim Bob, it seems. In fact, the only Duggar who isn’t living in a property that, at some point, was owned by Jim Bob is Jill Duggar. It should be noted, however, that she and her husband, Derick, did reside in a Duggar-owned property while they were featured on Counting On.
Whether or not he’s actually hoarding all of the earnings remains unknown. Derick insists it’s true, but Jim Bob has never commented on how the money is split. TLC also hasn’t commented on how the family is paid, but insiders theorize the group is paid in the form of a single check. Individual participants, whether they are minors or adults, likely aren’t receiving a personal check for their time.