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Quackers are less of a draw, after controversy

Timothy Kincaid

January 16th, 2014

Much to my surprise (and probably that of the A&E executives), Duck Dynasty has not benefitted from weeks of defense by those who malign and demean gay people. (Entertainment Weekly)

Though Duck Dynasty was expected by some to return to its biggest ratings yet after its huge controversy last month, the Louisiana-based reality show returned to lower viewership than its previous two premieres.

Wednesday night’s Duck Dynasty season 5 premiere had 8.5 million viewers. That’s huge for a cable reality show, but down 28 percent from its record-setting fourth season debut in August (11.8 million). It’s also slightly down from the show’s third season premiere in February last year (8.6 million). A&E notes the number up slightly from the fourth season finale on Oct. 23 (though obviously it’s standard to compare premieres to premieres).

What this means is difficult to discern. Perhaps there were more interesting things to distract the show’s core audience. Perhaps the weather played some role.

Or, perhaps, we have reached the point where saying truly vile things about gay people will turn off even an audience that identifies as conservative and Christian. It is possible that there is some segment of Middle America that will not argue with the self-appointed spokesmen or talk to the papers, but for whom the rants of Phil Robertson left a bad taste in their mouths.

And, unless it was an anomaly, this drop in ratings does not bode well for A&E’s revenues. Undoubtedly a number of viewers tuned in to see what the fuss was about and, if they have any taste at all, they won’t stick around. It may be that the quackers have reached their zenith and that it’s all downhill from here.

Comments

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Paul Douglas
January 16th, 2014 | LINK

Timothy,
is ascern a word?

Ben In Oakland
January 16th, 2014 | LINK

Asure it is, Paul.

From my writing elsewhere, I have come to see a class of conservative Christians who believe homosexuality is a sin, but who nonetheless don’t feel that it should be a matter for bigotry.

And they act accordingly. With a little bit of luck, they also vote accordingly. not allies, but not enemies.

Joseph Singer
January 16th, 2014 | LINK

The controversy did not ultimately save the show. It ran its course. I don’t believe it had anything to do with “real” Christians and Robertson’s anti-gay rant.

Hyhybt
January 17th, 2014 | LINK

“Save the show?” It doesn’t seem to need saving; as this article says, the ratings are still huge for what it is. (Though the decline may get A&E a better deal come renewal time, just as the fake “they won’t let us pray anymore” business got the cast a raise maybe a year ago.)

Timothy Kincaid
January 17th, 2014 | LINK

Paul, no but it should be.

tristram
January 17th, 2014 | LINK

@ Timothy and Paul – “ascern” is obviously the hybrid offspring of “ascertain” and “discern.”

Timothy Kincaid
January 17th, 2014 | LINK

yep, that’s probably where my brain was going when I typed that. Which is, I suppose, better than “distain”.

(And p.s. if anyone doesn’t understand this thread, where the word “discern” appears above, I originally wrote “ascern”)

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