×

‘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.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • T.J. Dillashaw, right, kicks Cody Garbrandt

    Disney Plans UFC Broadcast for FX

    UFC matches will return to FX  – but not on a permanent basis. ESPN has been showing preliminary bouts to UFC pay-per-view events for the last while on ESPN and ESPN2, and then showing the main card on its ESPN+ subscription video service. In September, the early lineup will air on FX, which the UFC [...]

  • George RR Martin

    George R.R. Martin Says HBO's 'Game of Thrones' Ending Won't Influence Future Novels

    Geroge R.R. Martin is sticking to his original plan when it comes to the future of “Game of Thrones.” In an interview with The Observer, Martin claimed that HBO’s controversial ending for the series would have no affect on the endings of the last two novels. “No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t change anything at all,” [...]

  • Listen: 'Pennyworth' Producer Talks Delving into

    Listen: 'Pennyworth' Executive Producer Talks Delving into Alfred's Backstory

    Bruno Heller may have served as an executive producer on the Batman-inspired series “Gotham” for the past five years, but it’s actually real-life people (not superheroes) that intrigue the producer the most. It’s for that exact reason that Heller’s newest series finds him exploring the origin stories of Batman’s butler Alfred in the Epix drama [...]

  • "Trust Issues" - Dylan and Lizzie

    'Instinct' Canceled After Two Seasons

    CBS has canceled “Instinct” after two seasons. Series creator Michael Rauch announced the cancellation Friday on Twitter, writing, “I’m very sad to relay the news that @instinctcbs won’t be renewed for a 3rd season. We will double up this Sunday and our season/series finale will be Aug 25.” Rauch also thanked series stars Alan Cumming [...]

  • Maisel Day

    My Mostly OK Maisel Day (Column)

    When Amazon announced its first-ever Maisel Day, I was intrigued. For one day, Aug. 15, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” fans and Angelenos (fangelenos?) could hit up various restaurants, theaters and retailers throughout Los Angeles for special deals, all at 1959 prices. Among the gems: $2.50 makeovers, $0.99 pastrami sandwiches and $0.30 for a gallon of [...]

  • Nordisk Film & TV Fond Announces

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond Backs Joachim Trier, Ole Bornedal, Yellow Bird

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond has announced three features, two series and a documentary set to receive $1.4m in financing, as well as distribution, dubbing and cultural initiative support recipients. Doing so, it highlights some of the key titles moving forward in the Nordic region. Already backed by the Danish Film Institute’s largest ever grant [...]

  • TV News Roundup: 'Silicon Valley' Final

    TV News Roundup: 'Silicon Valley's' Final Season Sets October Premiere Date

    In today’s roundup, “Silicon Valley” returns to HBO on Oct. 27 and Quibi greenlights a new cooking competition show “Dismantled.” DATES The fifth season of Netflix‘s “Peaky Blinders” will premiere on the streamer Oct. 4. The newest season will continue to follow one gangster family in the lawless streets of Birmingham, UK during the midst [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content