Duck Dynasty appeared to have an uncertain future after one of the show’s stars, Phil Robertson, gave an interview late last year in which he made crudely anti-gay remarks, as well as comments implying that African-Americans were better off before the civil right era.
But while Duck Dynasty ratings have been down in the current Season Five, the show still dominates Wednesday nights on cable, with ratings that could compete with many broadcast network programs on the same night.
Duck Dynasty appeared to have survived the controversy and attacks from gay-rights advocates who wanted Phil Robertson — patriarch of the Robertson clan that is the focus of the A&E reality show — suspended, if not the entire show cancelled.
The success of Duck Dynasty Season Five has invoked a triumphant attitude from social conservatives, best expressed by former Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin who told a gathering of conservatives last week that “we won” the war over Duck Dynasty.
But — not so fast. A new report, if accurate, could be an indication that Duck Dynasty is dead in the water. According to the entertainment site Radar Online, the latest “Q” scores show that the overall popularity of Duck Dynasty took a beating after the Phil Roberston remarks.
Generally unfamiliar to the general TV-viewing public and tightly guarded in Hollywood circles, Q scores, which have been in use since 1963, measure not only awareness of a TV show or individual celebrity, but also whether that show is perceived positively or negatively by the general public.
The scores are considered invaluable to marketers because even if an audience is watching a show in great numbers, if viewers do not feel warmly toward the show and its stars, they are less likely to have positive feelings towards brands that advertise on the show. In that respect, Q scores can be more important than Nielsen ratings.
And Duck Dynasty took a beating in the Q scores since Phil Robertson made his derogatory remarks toward gay people and African Americans.
According to the report, the Duck Dynasty “positive” Q score — indicating positive feelings toward a show — plunged by almost 20 percent, from a 32 score to 26 since the controversy, while the “negative” Q score inched up from 19 to 20.
Among women, the Duck Dynasty positive Q was battered even more badly, falling nearly 30 percent from 38 to 27.
Phil Robertson himself is also suffering in his Q-rated popularity, with a score falling from 32 to 23, or a 28 percent drop.
To an extent, that drop in popularity has been reflected in the Duck Dynasty ratings, with the show’s numbers in late February down 40 percent from the same time one year ago.