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Behind the Duggars' Cancellation: Inside the Sudden Move That Ended a Jill & Jessa Spin-Off

19 Kids and Counting Canceled: Why a Jessa, Jill Duggar Spin-Off Didn't Work
Jill Dillard (left) and Jessa Seewald
Courtesy Jill Dillard

updated 07/26/2015 AT 11:55 AM EDT

originally published 07/22/2015 AT 11:00 AM EDT

After TLC pulled all episodes of 19 Kids and Counting from the air, following reports that Josh Duggar had molested five underage girls when he was 14 (he subsequently apologized and said he had "acted inexcusably"), there was talk that the show would shift from the entire family and focus on daughters Jill Dillard and Jessa Seewald.

It's no surprise a spin-off centered on the older Duggar daughters – whose marriages and pregnancies had become a popular part of the show – was being considered during the "near-constant" and "intense" conversations about the show's future, as a source who has worked closely with the family tells PEOPLE in this week's issue, but the source says not everyone was on board.

An insider tells PEOPLE that patriarch Jim Bob Duggar was not a fan of the Jill and Jessa spin-off suggestion.

"He absolutely wanted to be back on TV and was never thrilled about the show suddenly shifting focus," the source says of Jim Bob, 50.



Adding to the unlikelihood of an imminent spin-off, Jill, 24, her husband Derick and their 4-month-old son Israel went to Central America on a mission trip in early July: "And with that, one half of any potential new show was gone," the source says.

As for Jessa, 22, who is expecting her first child with husband Ben in November, she "is clearly [one of the stars] in the family: beautiful, smart, strong-willed," says the insider, adding, "She may be slightly more free-spirited than your average Duggar, but she is firmly and centrally a part of the family, as is her husband."

Even though their hit series has been officially canceled and there are no confirmed spin-offs on the horizon, the Duggars will return to the network to appear in a TLC documentary special on survivors of child abuse.

"They're happy to show that this did not scar them permanently," the source says.

RELATED VIDEO: Jessa Duggar's Father-in-Law Pens Essay in Wake of Josh Duggar Molestation Scandal: 'I'm Rooting for You'


For much more behind the scenes of the Duggars' cancellation, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE on newsstands Friday
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