Just a few years ago it was nearly impossible to escape the Duck Dynasty brand. What happened to A&E’s most popular show?
In The Beginning, It was Good
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Duck Dynasty, a reality show based on the lives of the Robertson family, was developed by Walt Disney Company and Hearst Productions. It runs on the A&E network, and has long been loved by American television viewers. The show premiered on March 21st, 2012. It quickly catapulted the Robertson family and their employees into the spotlight. The Robertson family business, Duck Commander, sold duck calls. The sons of former football player Phil Robertson now run the company. The show documented their shenanigans. Viewers loved the simple story line, and hilarious family antics.
Record Breaking Viewers
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By their fourth season premiere Duck Dynasty shattered records by pulling in 11.7 million viewers. This was their most watched season premiere, and nothing has come close since. This premiere in the summer of 2014. At that time advertisement revenue for the show was reaching $80,000,000. At this point the family began to expand their brand. Family members wrote books, promoted companies, opened side-businesses, and cashed in on public appearances.
Controversy Rocks the Boat
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In December of 2013 Phil Robertson changed the course of Duck Dynasty’s future. In an interview with GQ magazine, Phil equated same sex relations to beastiality, and made many other offensive and controversial comments. Ratings dropped for a moment. The A&E network suspended the leader of the family from the show. However, this suspension was lifted, and ratings crept back up with time. It appeared nothing could stop the Duck Dynasty brand.
Life After 2013
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After Phil Robertson’s controversial comments the Duck Dynasty cast remained out of the spotlight and media for some time. The show continued to slowly lose ratings and viewership. Television in general has lost viewers to competitive online streaming. However, the 8th Season Finale showcased John Luke Robertson’s wedding to Mary Kate McEacharn. The episode brought in 3.26 million viewers. This episode showed Duck Dynasty’s resilience. The cast is still very popular.
Back to the Basics
Many reality shows lose momentum quickly. Duck Dynasty has certainly lost it’s popularity as a show. It’s loyal fans have expressed they want to see the show return to it’s basic format. They miss the explosions, pranks, and duck hunting episodes. Jep Robertson promised SheKnows magazine that season 10 would do just that. “I think this season has kind of gotten back more to grass roots, funny, having a good time, you know what I’m saying? I think it’s just good,” Jep said.
The Future Awaits
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Despite Season 10 premiering to only 1.3 million viewers with a 0.5 rating, Duck Dynasty has been renewed for season 11. The new season will premiere November 16th on A&E. Who knows what’s in store for the Duck Dynasty cast.