The stars of Duck Dynasty want to cash in off the show’s growing popularity, asking A&E for a big pay increase to match the show’s huge ratings.
Sources said that members of the Robertson family, including Si and his brother Phil and Phil’s sons, are looking to get more than $200,000 per episode from production company Gurney Productions in order to come back for the fourth season. The family has already seen their Duck Commander outdoor empire boom as a result of the show, and A&E has seen the benefits as well.
During season three Duck Dynasty drew 8.6 million viewers and a sterling 3.9 rating among the key 18-to-49 demographic, second only to AMC’s The Walking Dead of all cable shows. Duck Dynasty also consistently finished on top in the 10 pm Wednesday slot.
Duck Dynasty has even been able to take on a reality show juggernaut. In early March a study of social media hits found that the A&E show beat out American Idol, and in terms of ratings topped even many network shows.
In fact, Duck Dynasty‘s audience for its season three premiere was about 3 million more people than tuned in to ABC’s Good Morning America the previous week to watch the much-hyped return of co-host Robin Roberts, who had been on medical leave from the show for several months after undergoing a bone-marrow transplant.
The salary demand of the Robertson family, star of the reality show that features their duck call business, are reportedly holding up production on the show’s fourth season.
Salary disputes are not uncommon among reality shows. In 2010 the cast of MTV’s Jersey Shore held out for a 200 percent salary increase, and the cast of Discovery’s Deadliest Catch quit in 2010 amid a pay dispute, returning once the matter was resolved.
Because of the popularity of Duck Dynasty and the audience it has brought to A&E, a source close to the negotiation said the dispute should be resolved in time to avoid missing shooting, noting, “It’ll all get worked out.”