Ratings: ‘Duck Dynasty’ Returns Down From Summer, On Par With Last Year

Duck Dynasty Ratings

It ranks as No. 2 program of night in young adults — behind only Fox's 'American Idol'

More than 8.5 million heard the “Duck Dynasty” call Wednesday, as the A&E juggernaut returned to strong but far from record-breaking ratings — less than a month after a firestorm of controversy engulfed the show.

This number is about the same as its recent Christmas special as well as its 2013 bow last February, but well below its record-setting fourth-season opener of last August.

On a night that included original series episodes on every broadcast network — including the season premiere of Fox’s “American Idol” — “Duck Dynasty” ranked as the evening’s No. 2 program among adults 18-49. Its 4.2 million viewers in the demo (a 3.3 rating) put it behind only “Idol” (4.6) and slightly ahead of ABC’s “Modern Family” (3.2)

The fifth-season premiere was taped before family patriarch Phil Robertson was quoted in GQ magazine equating homosexuality to bestiality, among other comments. His incendiary remarks surfaced Dec. 18, and A+E Networks quickly put Robertson on “indefinite” suspension.

The Robertson clan responded a day later by saying they would not continue filming the show without Phil, and social media and cable news pundits spent much of Christmas week discussing the controversy. On Dec. 27, A+E said Robertson would be back when filming of “Duck Dynasty” resumes in the spring, and promised to run a public-service campaign to preach tolerance.

SEE ALSO: ‘Duck Dynasty’ Scramble Leaves A&E With Egg On Its Face

One week before the Phil Robertson comments were released by GQ, on Dec. 11, “Duck Dynasty” warmed up for its fifth season Wednesday night by drawing a big 8.9 million viewers for the show’s holiday episode — up vs. a similar special one year earlier by 21% in the demo and 37% in overall audience.

Duck Dynasty” exploded when it kicked off its fourth season last August, with its 11.8 million total viewers the largest audience for a nonfiction series telecast in cable history. 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.

It went on to average 9.15 million same-night viewers for its summer episodes.

SEE ALSO: A+E Ends Phil Robertson Suspension; Aims to Turn Controversy into Teachable Moment

For calendar year 2013, “Duck Dynasty” was among the biggest programs on all of television in key younger demos. When including full-week DVR playback, its original episodes averaged a 6.0 rating in adults 18-49 (7.6 million in this age group) — fourth among all primetime series, behind only “The Walking Dead,” “Sunday Night Football,” “The Big Bang Theory” and tied with “Modern Family.”

And among persons 12-34, “Duck Dynasty’s” average of 3.1 million viewers ranked third, trailing “Walking Dead” and “Sunday Night Football.”

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  1. peep says:

    8.5 million, what idiot sees that as negative. even the “occupy wall street” crowd would have orgasmed if they got that on the evening news

  2. barnslayer says:

    Many viewers chose to boycott A&E despite phil Robertson’s re-enstatement. It came off as insincere.
    I’m betting the Robertson family business enjoyed a commensurate up-tick.

  3. Its down 28 percent from last season premiere-that is a STEEP fall

  4. Greg says:

    Phil Robertson, WHEN ASKED about his viewpoints on morality and marriage, provided his observations. He comments on BEHAVIOR. He did not criticism any individual, he did not endanger any one, he did not dehumanize anyone, nor did he discriminate against anyone for a trait that is genetically determined–like race and gender–and therefore is someone that a person has no control over.

    He provides his moral viewpoint on a BEHAVIOR that ANY OF US is able to participate in and perform.

    If Phil Robertson was asked about his views on rape, murder, bestiality, child molestation, or any other BEHAVIOR that he finds repulsive, his statements would have been just as blunt and morally clear.

    Here’s where the confusion lies: liberals make BEHAVIOR synonymous with IDENTITY. To an amoral liberal (which is all liberals, by definition), if you criticize what someone does, you are criticizing THE PERSON.

    This makes no sense. Does criticizing rape mean you are condemning the rapist? No. Does criticizing murder mean you are condemning the murderer? No.

    And yet the very same logic that liberals use to “figure out” that homosexuals are somehow “born that way” can be used for rapists and murderers, too. How are THEY not “born that way”? Do not rapists get sexually turned on at the sight of an vulnerable woman (or man)? Do not child molesters get sexually turned on when they sight a small child? Do not those who engage in sex with animals (bestiality) get sexually turned on at the sight of certain animals?

    Yes, in all cases.

    So, using the same logic that is being used to condemn Phil Robertson, by finding any of these other behaviors “immoral” OR “repulsive” OR “objectionable” means necessarily that you are discriminating against someone and their “born that way” condition.

    This is pure lunacy. There is ZERO connection between genetics and homosexuality. It is a CHOSEN LIFESTYLE. EVERYONE OF US has to deal with a broken sexuality, with racism, with sexism, with ALL the “isms” out there. It is in ALL of us!

    It’s called the SINFUL CONDITION.

    This is simply what Phil Robertson was pointing out (in his own crass manner, of course).

    But never did he target an individual and condemn them.

    • Chichacho Jones says:

      Please, if there is a god somewhere in the heavens above, PLEASE send this man a book on human psychology so that he may never embarrass himself like this again. Or, at least, to his children so that they may grow up to be more educated than their father cares to be.

      Please also grant his children minds of their own so that they may think for themselves and be great leaders, not puppets thoughtlessly, regurgitating.

      In his name, I pray.

  5. MediaWatchman says:

    Rick Kissell,
    Phil was not “equating homosexuality to bestiality.” He was listing all sexual acts outside of marriage between one man and one woman, including adultery.

    Read the GQ interview again and retract your incorrect statement from the above article. Your readership expects you to report facts, not opinions.

    • Michael Anthony says:

      MediaWatchman? Are you the official media police?? Doubt it.

      I read the interview too. Variety pegged this bigot perfectly. No retraction needed.

      On a side note, viewer ship is trending down. It did last season and will do the same again this year. I’m sure A/E can’t wait til it can end the show. No one likes being associated with hate. And no, they can’t take the show elsewhere. The family doesn’t own it.

  6. bret says:

    Here’s what I don’t understand – his beliefs are from the bible right? This is the supposed word of God. Why is it that he believes homosexuality is wrong but he doesn’t think he should kill his neighbour if he sees him working on a Sunday? Or beat his slaves if he sees them running backwards naked through a cornfield at midnight? Or any of the other crazy shit the bible says. Why do people assume some things are the word of God and others can just be ignored?

  7. Big Bob says:

    Yes, let’s celebrate a show that advocates homophobia, bigotry and misogyny.

  8. Big Bob says:

    How does a 30% decline from last Augusts premier translate into a ratings “boost”?

    • The 12 million from last August was their best ratings EVER. What? You expect the show …any show, to meet of beat it’s best rating every show? As it stands, their “Season Premiere” was on Wednesday, and re-shown on Thursday. Combine the numbers, and you’ll get your 12 million plus.

  9. Pure Fluff says:

    Reblogged this on Pure Fluff.

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