One of the big factors in the rise of “Duck Dynasty” was the new take the show had on the “redneck” lifestyle. The Robertson clan wasn’t a backwoods “Honey Boo Boo” clan yelling about “neck rust”. They were a tight nit family running a million dollar empire. If JR Ewing from “Dallas” made his money in duck calls instead of oil then this could have been his life. That story line differentiated the show from other reality fare, and was a big reason for its overwhelming success.
That special difference took a major hit when Phil Robertson, the show’s patriarch, made controversial comments about gays and lesbians. All all at once the show went from special to run of the mill. While there was a rush by some to support Phil and the show, the question was how would those statements effect the show’s viewers. Would that ugly December be enough to turn people off from what was the biggest reality show on TV? Well this week “Duck Dynasty” aired its fifth season premiere, and the ratings show the scandal hurt even more than A&E wanted to admit.
Deadline.com has all the info on the “Duck Dynasty” dip.
A&E’s flagship reality series clocked 8.5 million viewers Wednesday night, snapping a streak of ratings records and posting its first season-to-season drop. Among adults 18-49, the premiere averaged 4.2 million viewers, down 33%. Those are still huge numbers for a cable series, but the Season 5 opener was down from the show’s Season 4 debut, which drew nearly 12 million to become the No. 1-rated nonfiction series telecast in cable history.
Now any cable programmer would give their right arm for a show that logged 8.5 million viewers, but for “Duck Dynasty” that’s a major drop. There’s no other way to look at the numbers than the show is in decline. The question is will it continue to shrink as the year goes on. While Phil Robertson had numerous defenders in the media, his comments did enough damage to knock “Duck Dynasty” off of the top show on cable pedestal.