Sugar Bear will not get a pink slip from TLC in the wake of his separation from Mama June ... but TLC is now scrambling to make sure "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" doesn't implode the way "Jon & Kate Plus 8" did.
Sources close to the show tell TMZ ... they have made a decision -- Sugar Bear is the father of the show's star, and the story line would be "ridiculously incomplete" without including him. The separation itself will become a significant part of the show.
Producers are not looking to exploit the split, and haven't yet decided how to cover it, but one source was candid, "To tell the truth it's good for the show. It had hit a bit of a lull and now there are tons of story lines ... dating, single parenting, breakups."
That said ... TLC wants to make sure the kids are not "emotionally bleeding" on camera because their parents broke up. TLC watched one of their signature shows -- "John & Kate" --- go down the toilet because of the strife over the kids.
TLC wants to give Mama June an even higher profile on the show, following her life as a newly-single woman. They don't want to portray her as an emotional wreck ... she'll remain the rock of the family.