In addtition to the media empire he created with his wife — though he mostly takes the credit for himself — Jim Bob is a successful real estate developer and former politician who still enjoys a surprising amount of clout in both D.C. and the Arkansas statehouse.
Presented with the problem of how to raise 16 children, Jim Bob came up with an innovative solution and reached a lucrative deal with Discovery Channel execs, which later led to a longterm arrangement with TLC.
(Some have convincingly argued that Jim Bob stumbled into the deal through sheer luck, but that’s a conversation for a different time.)
The franchise had humble enough origins with Jim Bob and company receiving decorating, furnishings, appliances, and a stocked pantry for their new home in exchange for their participation in the Discovery Health documentary 16 Kids and Moving In.
Jim Bob even managed to maneuver around the Josh Duggar sex scandals that threatened to bring the family down.
It was widely assumed that they would seize the opportunity as their father had and flourish for years to come.
Let’s go down the list, shall we?
The eldest of Jim Bob and Michelle’s sons enjoyed a brief career as a Washington lobbyist, but it was derailed when word got out that he had molested five young girls, four of whom were his sisters.
Because Jim Bob is only “tough on crime” when it comes to people who don’t look like him, Josh suffered nothing in the way of real consequences, and he currently operates a car dealership that appears to be owned by his father.
Next up is Jana Duggar, who’s trying to launch a media career of her own, but keeps running into roadblocks, probably as a result of her family’s arch-conservative views.
In this way, she belongs to the same category as Jinger Duggar, who has influencer aspirations, but is considered off-limits to many brands due to her fundamentalist belief system.
Just last month, Jinger was forced to back out of a paid appearance amid concerns that her views conflicted with those of the organization sponsoring the event.
These days, Derick is working as a Grub Hub driver and pursuing a law degree part-time.
Before he found fame by marrying Jill, he worked as an accountant, and it’s unclear why he gave up that line of work.
Sources say both men are hoping to land jobs in their father’s car-flipping/real estate concern.
In that way, her fate is not dissimilar to that of Josh Duggar, who might be living in a windowless warehouse on his parents’ property.
Of course, the paths that brought Joy and Josh to these living conditions are very different.
Meanwhile, Joy is a reportedly a victim of her husband’s ambition.
Insiders say Austin Forsyth hopes to flip houses for a living just like his father-in-law.
He’s poured all of the couple’s money into this effort, but this far, he’s met with nothing but lawsuits and disappointment.
He thinks he’s helping them by covering their expenses and helping them avoid consequences — but thus far, the approach seems woefully ineffective.