When A&E announced that it would be bringing millionaire preacher-duck hunter-reality star Phil Robertson back to Duck Dynasty, the assumption was that the audience backlash, the endless talk show attention, even the nightly news updates, presaged the season five premiere's biggest audiences ever. After all, why would A&E drop its totally pointless “suspension” and bring Robertson back unless giant ratings were in its future. And to listen to shrieking rightwingers, they were all going to watch that show, and damn the pansy complainers.
Not so, according to EW. The Louisiana-based reality show about Robertson’s clan (progeny that seemed pretty clean-cut just a few years before being so authentically woodsy/swampy for TV) saw lower ratings than its previous two premieres.
“Wednesday night’s Duck Dynasty season 5 premiere had 8.5 million viewers. That’s huge for a cable reality show, but down 28 percent from its record-setting fourth season debut in August (11.8 million). It’s also slightly down from the show’s third season premiere in February last year (8.6 million).”
Was it the antigay rhetoric that turned off some audiences? Or the racially insensitive language about blacks in the pre-Civil Rights era? Or was Robertson’s advocating marrying underage girls? Why pick just one? Neither the duck dues nor A&E is saying.