LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Cable television network TLC on Friday said it has canceled "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo," the popular cable reality series, about a rural Georgia family and their precocious beauty pageant daughter.
TLC, owned by Discovery Communications Inc, did not explain why it was canceling the show but said in a statement that "supporting the health and welfare of these remarkable children is our only priority. TLC is faithfully committed to the children's ongoing comfort and well-being."
June Shannon, the mother of Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson, 9, on Friday denied a report the previous day on celebrity website TMZ.com that she was in a relationship with a convicted child molester. Efforts to contact a lawyer for the man were unsuccessful.
In a video posted on Facebook, Shannon said she hadn't seen the man cited by TMZ in a decade. "I would not ever, ever put my kids in danger," Shannon said.
"That is my past," she added.
Reuters could not independently verify the TMZ report.
"Here Comes Honey Boo Boo," which began airing in 2012, follows Alana as well as her father and Shannon's three other daughters in rural McIntyre, Georgia.
The show peaked during its second season averaging about 2.4 million viewers per episode. Viewership had steadily declined to about 1.4 million average viewers for its fourth season, which finished in August.
The fifth season had already been completed and it was scheduled to premiere in January, a TLC source said.
The source, who was not authorized to speak publicly on the network's plans, said TLC had begun discussions with the family about providing tutoring or counseling for the children. The source did not provide more details.
Discovery stock was up 2 percent $36.71.
(Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Mary Milliken and Jeffrey Benkoe)