Ratings: ‘Duck Dynasty’ still strong, but down from pre-Phil Robertson controversy

The numbers are in for the “Duck Dynasty” premiere from last night, and the one thing that we take away from this right away is that the controversy regarding Phil Robertson ‘s suspension / reinstatement certainly did not help the ratings. However, talk regarding the show’s imminent demise is also a little too premature, given that it beat everything else on television not named “American Idol.”

The show over its two new episodes Wednesday night drew on average a 3.35 rating in the 18-49 demographic, which is definitely impressive given that we are talking about cable here. Also, it posted a total of more than eight million viewers. Very, very good numbers … but also a slight decrease in viewers from the season 4 finale, and a very big decrease versus what we saw during the season 4 premiere when the show was at its peak.

Now, it becomes very difficult to try and ascertain what the real reason is for the decline of the show. The easiest thing for most people to do at this point would be to sit here and say that it is the fault of Phil’s remarks in GQ, but the truth here is that this may not impacted the show’s following much at all. The decrease could just due to viewer fatigue, and we personally feel like the ratings probably would have been down this season if there wasn’t all the negative backlash. Reality franchises just don’t have the shelf life of most other shows, since the ruse starts to be up as time goes by.

Personally, we see the ratings here for the premiere as a combination of two things. More “Duck Dynasty” supporters probably watched than usual, wanting to show support for the family after the controversy. Meanwhile, the show probably lost viewers who enjoyed the series for its entertainment value, but do not share the same opinions as its star.

All in all, the real thing to note is that so long as the show pulls numbers close to this, it’s not going anywhere. It makes far too much money, and the Robertsons still have something to gain with their brand being advertised on the show.

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