First, the good news for the “Duck Dynasty” Robertson clan: A whole lot of people tuned in to watch their series return for a fifth season on Wednesday.
Now, the bad news: It wasn’t quite the crowd that tuned in for the last season premiere. Or even the one before that.
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The Season 5 premiere of “Duck Dynasty” — the first new episode since the controversy that family patriarch Phil Robertson stirred with anti-gay comments that he made in a GQ interview — drew 8.5 million total viewers. Which is an impressive number, especially for cable. And it’s a hair higher than the 8.4 million total viewers that the Season 4 finale drew in October.
But the premiere numbers mark a distressing reversal of momentum for the series: It’s the first season premiere that has actually fallen short of the previous season’s debut. And it did so by a pretty wide margin.
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The Season 4 premiere in August 2013 drew a record 11.8 million total viewers — which shakes out to a 28 percent drop for Wednesday’s premiere. Granted, the previous premiere took place during the summer, when the networks were mostly in reruns.
But the Season 3 premiere, in February 2013, also bested the most recent season debut, edging it out with 8.6 million total viewers.
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It’s not exactly an encouraging sign, particularly considering that “Duck Dynasty” doubled its audience between its series premiere and its Season 2 premiere — and then doubled it again between the Season 2 premiere and Season 3 premiere. (See chart for full trajectory.)
With Season 5′s premiere drawing essentially even with the Season 3 premiere and the Season 4 finale — and considering the boost that the Season 4 premiere most likely received from a lack of competition from the networks — it’s hard to say that the controversy over Robertson’s comments hurt the show. But it certainly doesn’t seem to have helped.
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And given the steady growth in series premieres had enjoyed up to this point, it’s hard to question whether a little wind has been taken out of the duck calls.
Like the old saying goes: If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck … maybe Phil Robertson just might have been better off keeping his opinions to himself.
The post ‘Duck Dynasty’ Premiere Ratings Drop: Did the Phil Robertson Controversy Hurt the Show? appeared first on TheWrap.
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