Could Duck Dynasty be done for? The A&E reality show about a family of Louisiana backwater yokels who got rich selling duck calls scored a cable TV smash for most of its first four seasons, but viewers appear to be fatigued of the Robertson clan’s antiques. The show’s airing last night, January 22, pulled in the series’ lowest rating since the Season Two finale in December of 2012, according to the entertainment industry news site The Wrap.
After ratings for last week’s season premiere were down sharply from the previous season’s opener, Duck Dynasty lost another 2 million viewers this week, with only 6.7 million viewers tuning in to watch the show as it aired at 10 pm — or 8.8 million counting viewers who watched later on their DVRs, according to the TV industry news site Zap2It.
While the drop must be worrisome to Duck Dynasty producers and fans, the show’s rating was still enough to win the night on basic cable, besting second-place finisher American Horror Story on FX, which for the second week in a row pulled in less than half of the Duck Dynasty numbers.
The 9 pm repeat of last week’s Duck Dynasty episode took third place on the night.
As was widely reported, in between Seasons Four and Five, Robertson family patriarch Phil Robertson gave an interview to GQ Magazine in which he made derogatory comments about gay people and African-Americans. Responding to public outrage over the remarks, A&E suspended Robertson from Duck Dynasty only to lift the “suspension” about a week later.
The intense publicity around the controversy — a conservative group took up a petition to bring Robertson back and succeeded in pressuring A&E to give in — some industry-watchers expected ratings to skyrocket for Season Five. But through the first two weeks at least, it appears that viewers — simply tired of the nonsense and, possibly alienated by Robertson’s remarks — have started to abandon the show.
For now, even with the loss of viewership, Duck Dynasty appears strong enough to stay on the air for quite some time — if it can arrest the ratings slide. But if ratings continue to bottom out, this duck may soon have breathed its last.