Tonight, A&E will unveil the final episode on what will forever be known as The First Season of Duck Dynasty After Phil Robertson Gave That Interview. Much navel-lint gazing has occurred over this fifth season of the network’s flagship reality series, what with the Robertson family patriarch having spent his hiatus appearing in a GQ article comparing homosexuality to bestiality and reminiscing about the Jim Crow south. A&E suspended Phil, causing religious and conservative groups (and a swath of Fox News Channel talent) to rally around him, and his family to indicate they would not continue the show without him. A&E wrapped up the action-packed show hiatus by un-suspending Phil in time for the season debut, though it had virtually the entire season in the can.
This season opened on January 15 with 8.5 million viewers tuned in, snapping a streak of ratings records and posting the show’s first season-to-season drop. In the demo, the opening night’s 4.2 million viewers was down 33%. (Duck Dynasty’s Season 4 debut had drawn drew nearly 12 million to become the No. 1-rated nonfiction series telecast in cable history, edging the Season 4 finale, which was watched by 8.4 million. More recently, the one-hour Duck Dynasty Christmas special logged nearly 9 million viewers.) The second week of Season 5 continued the downward trend after Night 1, drawing just 6.7 million total viewers, down an eye-opening 21% from the season opener. And its 3.6 rating in the adults 25-54 demo was down a less-rough 14% from last week. By last week, the penultimate episode of this season clocked just 4.7 million viewers. (more…)