Josh & Anna Duggar: Returning to Counting On This Year?!

As we reported earlier this week, Josh and Anna Duggar recently welcomed their fifth child, and the response from fans has been decidedly mixed.

Obviously, the birth of a healthy baby is always a joyous occasion, but it’s hard to overstate the seething rage with which some fans still regard Josh.

And since the eldest Duggar son’s long history of abusive behavior is the reason so many feel such antipathy toward him, well, that cuts deep.

It’s easy why to see why critics are conflicted about (or at least shrugging their shoulders over) the news that he’s now a father of five.

Surprisingly, however, there are many who feel that in welcoming a fifth child, Josh has taken a major step toward redemption.

News of the birth was shared on the Duggars’ official Facebook page, and the comments section was soon overwhelmed with congratulations.

Fans offering their well wishes were numerous … as were those expressing their hope that Josh will soon return to television.

“Will be a little bummed if we don’t get to see this birth,” wrote one follower. “[Anna Duggar] is incredibly inspiring while giving birth.”

This fan of Anna’s birthing skills (interesting as that is) isn’t alone, as many fans stated their belief that Josh has suffered long enough.

His scandalous past shouldn’t stop producers from featuring Anna’s pregnancy and birth as a storyline on the show, some feel.

Of course, it would be nearly impossible for to focus on Anna while continuing to keep Josh off camera, as TLC has become so skilled at.

Bringing Josh back would result in PR nightmares for both the Duggars and TLC, but amazingly, it seems the possibility is being considered.

In fact, one insider claims Josh’s father, Jim Bob Duggar, has already been successful in his lobbying efforts in this regard.

“Jim Bob Duggar spent a month trying to convince TLC that Josh should be back on the show,” a source tells In Touch.

“They finally caved and agreed to let him film an upcoming Counting On webisode,” the insider explains, adding:

“He’ll talk about his joy at learning he’s going to be a father again. [If the episode is well-received] he’ll appear on the next season of Counting On.”

The “webisode” probably won’t be seen by most fans, but it’s a development with major implications for Josh’s future.

Despite explicitly promising fans that the disgraced 29-year-old would never be seen on TV again, the sands may be shifting.

Nothing is finalized, but it’s yet another sign that the Duggars are inching ever closer to welcoming Josh onto their family business.

Counting On is already struggling in the ratings, so it would be a major gamble, but it looks as though Jim Bob and company are all in.

We suppose weathering a storm like the first Josh scandal might have led Jim Bob to the belief that he and his family are bulletproof.

In terms of bad PR, well, you can’t get any worse than the first-born of your 19 Kids & Counting molesting four of the others.

Or that same person cheating on their wife and being on online porn addict while working as a “family values” lobbyist.

Two years, one stint in rehab, and one new baby later, perhaps it’s worth the risk for Jim Bob, TLC & Co. to shake things up.

Of course, the patriarch’s many detractors are likely eager to prove him wrong, so expect plenty of opposition if they do.

As always, stay tuned, and follow the link to watch Counting On online for more from reality TV’s most controversial family.