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Jill and Jessa Duggar take center stage on '19 Kids and Counting'

The season premiere of “19 Kids and Counting” aired on Sept. 2 on TLC. During the super-sized, one-hour debut of season nine, Jill and Jessa Duggar took center stage when fans of the super-sized Duggar family were treated to a behind-the-scenes look at Jill and Derick’s wedding plans, plus Jessa’s on-going courtship with Ben Seewald.

Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard married last June and just two months later announced that they were expecting their first child. As posted by ABC News on Sept. 2, the two are extremely excited about starting their own family, but Jill is experiencing bouts of morning sickness. However, she stated, “I’m thanking God for this little life and the good signs. It’s well worth it.”

The season nine premiere opened just where last season left off – with Jill and Derrick getting engaged after a whirlwind romance that included an 8,000-mile trip to Nepal. During the premiere, Jill and Derick met with a wedding planner to prepare for a ceremony that would include 1,000 guests and was only three months away. Jill and Michelle agreed that much was to be done in a very short period.

The big news was that Michelle and Jim Bob were going to allow Jill and Derick to live in their huge, 3-story Stonybrook house. The Duggars purchased the home two years ago, but it still needed a thorough cleaning after being struck by vandals. The entire super-sized Duggar clan pitched in to turn the house into a new home for the newlyweds.

On a more serious note, the premiere revealed that Derick’s mom, Kathy Dillard Byrum, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, a type of cancer that starts in cells called lymphocytes, which are part of the body’s immune system, according to the American Cancer Society. Kathy underwent one week of intensive chemotherapy that left her weakened and susceptible to germs. Jill and Derick visited Derick’s mom and said that the crisis brought them closer.

Mother’s Day was a celebration in the Duggar household and the first time that the Duggars, Dillards and Seewalds all gathered together. Jill and Jessa prepared the meal. Although Derick’s mother couldn’t attend, she was called and video chatted with Derrick, Jill, and Derick’s brother, Dan. Grandma Duggar was also on hand to make the luncheon complete.

Jill was not the only Duggar who took center stage during the premiere of “19 Kids and Counting." Jessa Duggar also stole the spotlight. Jessa and Ben Seewald have been courting for nine months. Looking to speed up their relationship, Jim Bob offered Ben a job and a place to live – in the guesthouse/warehouse on the Duggar property. Ben’s dad said that it was a good opportunity and his mom added, “I know the Duggars will love him.” The family welcomed Ben with handmade signs, but Jim Bob was quick to point out that he needed to set boundaries and a curfew for Jessa and Ben.

It looks like Jim Bob’s plan worked. As reported by People Magazine, Ben popped the big question on August 14. The elaborate proposal started with a plane ride and a scavenger hunt. It ended with a .75-carat princess-cut diamond ring, which Ben slipped on Jessa’s finger after she said, “Yes!” Look for future episodes of “19 Kids and Counting” to focus on this couple as their wedding comes together throughout the new season.

To watch a video about Ben’s scavenger hunt proposal, head to the “19 Kids and Counting” website on TLC.

So, the new season of “19 Kids and Counting” is off to a great start. Below are details on upcoming episodes that will air on Tuesday, Sept. 9 on TLC.

  • 9:00 pm: “Duggar Daughter Dates.” TLC has not yet provided details, but it looks like the next new episode of “19 Kids and Counting” involves a double date with Jill/Derick and Jessa/Ben.
  • 9:30 p.m.: “Duggar-Sized Wedding Planning.” With less than three months to plan their wedding, Jill and Derick make some big decisions. From cake tasting to touring venues, will they hit the sweet spot for their Duggar-sized dream wedding?