×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

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

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.

More TV

  • daredevil Marvel Netflix

    Marvel to Shutter Television Division

    Marvel’s television division is officially winding down. Variety has learned that Marvel Television will no longer be developing any new series beyond the shows that are currently in production. According to an individual with knowledge of the situation, Marvel will eliminate a number of positions in the near future as a result of the cessation [...]

  • Kaya Scodelario

    TV News Roundup: Netflix's 'Spinning Out' With 'Skins' Star Kaya Scodelario Gets Premiere Date

    In today’s TV news roundup, Netflix reveals the premiere date for “Spinning Out,” and USA reveals a first look at Ethan Hawke’s return to “The Purge” universe.  DATES Netflix‘s “Spinning Out,“ starring “Skins’s” Kaya Scodelario and from showrunners Lara Olsen (“Reign”) and Samantha Stratton, premieres Jan. 1. The series follows Scodelario’s Kat, a high-level figure skater [...]

  • Philip MckeonPhilip Mckeon

    'Alice' Child Star Philip McKeon Dies at 55

    Philip McKeon, known for playing the son of Linda Lavin’s titular character in the classic CBS sitcom “Alice,” has died. He was 55. The actor died Tuesday morning in Texas following a longtime illness, family spokesman Jeff Ballard confirmed to Variety. “We are all beyond heartbroken and devasted over Phil’s passing,” said Ballard. “His wonderful [...]

  • Vanna White

    Vanna White Hosts 'Wheel of Fortune' for the First Time in 37 Years

    Vanna White, who’s been a staple on “Wheel of Fortune” for almost 40 years, stepped in to host the long-running game show for the first time, as host Pat Sajak underwent emergency surgery. “Tonight’s my first night of hosting Wheel! I’m excited and nervous! Stay tuned!” White tweeted on Monday The episodes, which were filmed [...]

  • Britt McHenry

    Fox News Sued by Streaming Host Britt McHenry, Who Alleges Harassment

    Britt McHenry, a host for Fox News’ Fox Nation streaming-video outlet, filed suit against the network and its corporate parent Tuesday, alleging she has been denied opportunities at the company after reporting claims she was harassed sexually by a former co-host, George Murdoch, who is also known as Tyrus. McHenry’s suit, filed in U.S. District [...]

  • Mnelik-Belilgne

    Fox to Develop Comedy 'Kidless' From 'Single Parents' Writer

    A single-camera comedy titled “Kidless” is currently in the works at Fox. The project hails from writer and co-executive producer Mnelik Belilgne and executive producer Jamie Tarses. Belilgne is currently a writer and co-executive producer on the ABC comedy “Single Parents.” He and Tarses previously worked together on the YouTube original comedy series “Champaign ILL” [...]

  • ET Live

    ET Online, ET Live Merge Staff, Resulting in Layoffs (EXCLUSIVE)

    UPDATED: On-air ET Live hosts Tanner Thomason and Jason Carter have been let go as part of the greater layoffs, according to a source, while host Melicia Johnson has accepted a new role within ET digital. Entertainment website ET Online and live-streaming network ET Live, the digital extensions of CBS’ daily newsmagazine “Entertainment Tonight,” are [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content