‘Duck Dynasty’ Premiere Shatters Cable Records With 11.8 Million Viewers

Duck Dynasty Premiere Ratings

It draws 11.8 million viewers as well as the summer's top demo score for any series on TV

A&E had the competition ducking for cover Wednesday, as its redneck reality smash “Duck Dynasty” kicked off its new season with a whopping 11.8 million viewers — the largest audience ever for a non-fiction cable series.

The show about a Louisiana family also set an A&E record as the biggest telecast in the network’s history in all key demos.

In adults 18-49, “Duck Dynasty” did a huge 5.0 rating (roughly 6.3 million viewers in the age group), up 26% from last year and a higher same-night rating than any series telecast on television since an April 15 episode of NBC’s “The Voice.”

The only cable reality show to ever draw more adults 18-49 was TLC’s “Jon & Kate” in June 2009 (6.5 million).

Among adults 25-54, “Duck Dynasty” drew 6.3 million viewers to top the previous cable reality record set by “Trading Spaces” nearly 10 years ago.

A&E is certainly striking while the iron is hot, as this is the fourth season of “Duck Dynasty” even though the show first premiered less than 18 months ago.

When it bowed in March 2012, it drew a ho-hum 1.81 million viewers, but that increased with its second season in October of last year (3.94 million) and then more than doubled when it opened season three in February of this year (8.62 million).

The third season of “Duck Dynasty” averaged 8.4 million total viewers, up 95% compared to season two. It is cable’s top reality program this year, and the No. 2 original series overall, behind only AMC juggernaut “The Walking Dead.”

Thanks in large part to “Duck Dynasty,” A&E ranked among the top five cable networks in both adults 18-49 and 25-54 for the second quarter of this year — rising 17% in both categories — while placing sixth in total viewers (up 19%).

“Duck Dynasty” was far and away the No. 1 program in all categories, including adults 18-49 (7.51 million or 5.9 rating) and total viewers (13 million), according to live-plus 7 Nielsen data.

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  1. alan says:

    Another great show is. “God,Guns & Automobiles” on the History Chanel
    Love Duck Dynasty

  2. alan says:

    The Best Show on TV

  3. Danny says:

    I had the pleasure of meeting these folks this past February on the Big Island of Hawaii. Phil, Miss Kay and Si were as gracious as they are on TV, perhaps more. Their genuiness resonates with most normal folk. I hope they dominate! (It won’t change them . . . !)

  4. an596655 says:

    Will I be labeled a racist for liking the show? I mean white men sticking to their guns and religion can have nasty implications in some political circles.

    • King David says:

      Did you know that one of Korie and Willie’s sons is black. The adopted him to give him a life. Hardly racist. You could say admirable.

    • mewp12 says:

      I never watched this show but after seeing one of them on the Five I just might check it out.

  5. Linda Hayes says:

    Great show–touching, hilarious, moral, genuine, honest, Christian values!

  6. I don’t have cable, so have not seen the program. I have heard great things about it. One feature the program has is: it shows that people with beards are good, decent people like anyone else. I speak not of those skinny metrosexuals with their sculpted, “designer label” beards. I speak of men who are MEN and who LOOK like men. Thank you, gentlemen.You are helping get us accepted.

  7. Bob White says:

    The nation craves the old America. The new one is full of perversion, murder, betrayal, lies, etc.. The Duck Dynasty program harkens back to a better day in the Nation, when men were men, and the sissies were nervous.

    • Steve says:

      America was built on perversion (Thomas Jefferson and his slave mistress), murder (biological warfare waged on native people), betrayal (see biological warfare on native people), and lies (pick your favorite politician). It’s a fallacy to assume “things aren’t the way they were.” We have new toys, and that’s it; human nature hasn’t changed one bit.

    • RobbCobb says:

      That was a good one, and you are oh so right.

  8. Jack Inmanz says:

    I think this is one of the signs of The Apocalypse.

  9. hank says:

    God Guns Family and Ducks rule!

  10. HowardTheDuck says:

    As others have said, it is a good show. But not only that, it is a good family show. No matter what age you are, it is still enjoyable. Perhaps there is something to watching a “regular” family, without women being offended that men can be men, and children who generally seem to listen and respect their parents. Oh yeah, throw in respect for God (this family always displays towards the end of the show) and I guess you have a winner. Go figure.

    This is a far cry from the norm – violence, sex, egomaniacs, and drugs, that fill our TV screens and movie theaters which eventually….over time…..contribute to the moral decay of our beloved society.


    These are the values our great country was founded upon. YOU GO ROBERTSONS!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. cactusjaq says:

    The only good show on television.

  12. George B Taylor Sr. says:

    It’s encouraging to see a program draw such a large audience – I hope it signifies that Americans still appreciate strong family ties and a respect for God. This Robertson clan represents good family values – very happy for their success.

  13. Jennifer says:

    Americans are looking for good clean family humor, and that is what Duck Dynasty delivers in each episode.

    Hollywood is obsessed with always cramming trash into everything they produce…from cartoons to comedies, dramas to romance – it’s sex-filled (even those directed towards children), foul-language, lack of morals, corrupt, virtual reality crap.

    I hope the Robertson’s stay true to themselves and keep doing what they’re doing – we love it!

  14. Jenny says:

    You and I are on exactly the same page. I love this show because it isn’t pushing an agenda. These are good and real people – my kind of folks. Love watching it with my granddaughters (not many shows you can do that with any more).

  15. so guns relegionand family does matter

  16. SFSolstice says:

    Non-Union produced and edited semi-scripted reality show vs. excuses for the failure of union restricted marginally accepted writing. Quit making excuses for your union writers. The MILLIONS like 11 Million American viewers have chosen. Get over it and produce something as creative and popular instead of running down success to make excuses for your own failure. YOU GO DUCK DYNASTY. KEEP QUACKING ON DOWN THE ROAD TO THE MILLIONS WHO LOVE YOU :-)

  17. P J Polley says:

    I loved last night’s episode where the kids threw a surprise “wedding” for Phil and Miss Kay. This family loves and supports each other. That included crazy Uncle Si. They aren’t afraid to laugh at themselves or ashamed to admit they are Christians. I am happy for their success.

  18. George says:

    Good for the show, good for A&E and a good show for the family. This show is naturally entertaining. It does it without insulting a viewer’s intelligence or making some poor dolt the object of foolish scorn or base humor. I always love the end of the show, even though I’m not religious, as the wrap-up and prayer seem to define the story-line.

  19. Hurley says:

    Duck Dynasty should be showing Hollywood why they are failing, but they are too politically blind.

  20. Uncle Si says:

    Uncle Si Rules! I need a “3 Si’s Howling” T-shirt

  21. geist29 says:

    They are the embodiment of the American Dream, I wish them well and continued success.

  22. Shawn says:

    Rick Kissell – why are using racial epithets in your article? That word is very offensive to me and I would appreciate it if you wouldn’t use it. I don’t think you go around using the N-word so you should not use that word either!

  23. cali says:

    good clean fun. amazing, in todays filth ridden world.

  24. john deluna says:

    What’s not to like. Their a wholesome All American family that look out for each and live by the Golden Rule. They’re funny and entertaining. Their business is tops in it’s class. We are devoted fans and hope they continue to succeed.

  25. brett says:

    Atheist love duck dynasty too!

  26. Susan says:

    Simply nice to turn the TV on, and not have to worry about having the kids in the room watching with you!

  27. rrbtexas says:


  28. Liz says:

    I predicted this show would do well when I watched the first couple seasons AND got made fun of in a writer’s group for saying it would. It’s down home ducky. The characters are naturally funny. It’s about the only reality TV show I will watch.

  29. Johnny Edwards says:

    Just goes to show you that they can be family friendly entertainment Happy Happy Happy

  30. Michael says:

    ugh…whats next honey boo boos premiere at 12M?!

  31. Steve says:

    It’s disingenuous that this show is labeled “reality.” Everyone knows it’s scripted. To be more specific, it’s a non-union sitcom with uncredited and poorly compensated writers and a cast of terrible actors.

    • Dogbyte says:

      Steve clearly has an ax to grind. He is a union thug who thinks it is ok to post on sites like he is a regular buy. Steve you can shove your union alinsky crap up our left nostril. I have an idea.
      Do a good job and the company you work for will pay to keep you. How about that?

      • Steve says:

        You are uniformed. “Union” is not equal to “Communist.” Why am I a “thug” because I want basic labor rights, afforded to people who stock shelves at Costco or serve coffee at Starbucks? Writers don’t work for one company – we’re largely free agents and very few shows run year round or even for more than one year. Imagine the company you work for created smaller companies and you had to bounce from one to the next with lapses in pay and no benefits. How about that?

    • Steve says:

      Donkey, show me your credits and I’ll show you mine.

    • Steve says:

      So far it’s zero because NO ONE writing for that show gets credited as a writer. They also don’t get healthcare, pension, or residual income.

      I have nothing personal against the DD guys, and I enjoy watching the show, but I’m tired of MASSIVE corporations exploiting creatives in Hollywood, which will continue to happen because wannabe writers will step over the dead bodies of other writers to take shitty jobs, and people like you will continue to paint this as “left vs the right” instead of what it is: an unjust labor issue.

    • Steve says:

      Big Bang Theory, Two and Half Men, and Mike and Molly do it regularly, and the creatives involved with the show get healthcare, pension, and residual incomes. There’s a fair way to do TV.

    • Steve says:

      Sorry, you TV geniuses are right. What’s more American and Democratic than two mega-corporate silos (Hearst Corporation (50%), Disney-ABC Television Group (50%) screwing a bunch of people (cast included) out of their fair share of the show’s success? The Duck Dynasty will continue to generate money for those corporations forever! Be sure you idiots buy the Blu-Ray.

    • Maya Ayala says:

      @ Steve: They explained that it is NOT scripted. The producers do sometimes suggest some “life scenarios,” but all of the interactions, words and reactions are genuine. This is just a fun family that loves one another despite anything that happens.

    • Sanchez says:

      Poor Steve, first, he doesn’t know what “scripted” means. Then he says deny ALL THOSE who work on with around and close to this show their fair days pay because they are not union.

      Nice guy there Steve. I bet they work more and do better than many union workers do today and are as proud of their days work as you are. And they seem happy happy happier than you are here bitching about their day.

      • Dogbyte says:

        Hey Steve did you vote for Obama? Be honest. Well then it will be your fault when your nice healthcare plan gets cancelled and you have to go to the exchange to try to get some crappy care. Good job.

      • Steve says:

        They’re called “suckers” because they don’t get healthcare, pension, or residual income. I’m sure they’re all very talented, but I guarantee the “writers” on that show can’t afford to buy homes or raise families.

    • Randy says:

      Hey Steve Numbers don’t lie, it is good family fun. Read the headline again 11.8M!!!! Jack!!!! Happy Happy HAPPY!!!

      • Leeboy says:

        Like they say,”if you don’t like it,change the channel”,meanwhile,the rest of us will enjoy some descent TV that proves you don’t have to be vulgar,stupid,and ignorant to be entertaining.

    • mfvd says:

      NON-UNION!??! Oh the horror

      • Bob says:

        So what decent, curse-free, moral, wholesome script has a union writer given us in the last 30 years?

      • Steve says:

        Let me guess – you work as a salaried employee for a giant corporation with full healthcare/benefits and you have disposable income, right?

    • mjlambie says:

      It’s as disingenuous for A&E to call this reality, as any nearly any reality show has to call itself reality. I think most people understand that reality is really just inspired by real people with or without any degree of coaching or scripting. They are certainly not the first to pass this off as ‘reality.’

      However, I had no idea about the poorly compensated writers, have they spoken out about it? Does the union cover reality writers? It makes sense that they should use union writers.

      Regardless, this is my guilty pleasure. Even as a comedy, it’s still better than many broadcast comedies. I enjoy their embracing of their children-at-heart attitudes. I would also argue that Uncle Si is one of the funniest people on TV at this moment. Is he timeless? i don’t know. Could he be as funny in any other context? I doubt it, but perhaps he could succeed elsewhere. This show is riding a short wave of popularity, but with Phil and MIss Kay taking reduced roles, i think they are just milking it for everything it’s worth before it’s over and done with. I have never hunted anything in my life, wore camo, or even been to Louisiana, but i have never wanted a vintage tupperware tea cup, or a duck call more.

      • Steve says:

        No, reality writers aren’t currently protected, even though the scope of reality has transformed from documentary to low-budget sitcoms with full scripts.

        Reality “writers” get credited as story editors or story producers and they don’t receive healthcare, pension, or residual income.

        It’s an opportunity for an aspiring writer, but it’s exploitative. With a hit like this, the returns for the corporate overlords are enormous, but most of the creatives won’t share in the windfall.

    • Oh really Steve. Obviously much more popular and appreciated by millions of us than your union
      sponsored great written and great acted trashed that gets cancelled on a regular basis.

      • mjlambie says:

        There are many union writers who are quite talented and a great number of union shows which deliver laughs to many. Sometimes writers are confined in spaces which do not allow them to produce their best content. Other times i would gather that they wish they’d be writing for other shows. I don’t think it’s fair to blame the talent every time for poor shows. I think this is more of a product of Duck Dynasty hitting a chord with much of the country. The family and the anti-white collar society elements play well to the larger audiences.

        It may also be worth asking the question of how many union writers can write within the sensibilities of these characters. Writers with a background in Southern redneckery. I think that the characters are pretty well defined that they probably don’t have to script too much dialogue as much as situations and context.

        Also, i would argue that this show has a far more value than the Kardashians. I think it’s largely content like that which has polarized audiences so far that they’ve easily welcomed and embraced the Dynasty.

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