In the grand scheme of things, the A&E show Duck Dynasty doesn’t really matter. It’s a fake reality show based on the premise of watching the Robertson family, and some of their friends, doing random silly things. It’s clearly staged, but you can’t discount the popularity of the show and the family.
Until Phil Robertson gave an interview with GQ magazine in December comparing homosexuals to terrorists and implied that homosexuality could lead to bestiality, nobody (outside of Duck Dynasty fans) really cared about the show.
His comments, however, changed everything. That interview threw Duck Dynasty, Duck Commander and the entire Robertson family into national headlines for Phil Robertson’s disgusting comments.
Following this controversy the belief by most was that hoards of conservatives would flock to A&E to show their support for Robertson’s comments and the show would experience record setting ratings.
But that’s not what happened.
The latest episode of the show hit a 16-month low for ratings, falling below 5 million viewers. To put that in some recent perspective, the season premiere pulled in 8.5 million viewers a little over 2 months ago.
Perhaps the most alarming trend for the show is its struggles with a key demographic of adults aged 18-49 where it’s not even beating out shows like Real Housewives of Atlanta.
Now, is this decline a result of Robertson’s comments? I do think they played some part in it. While the show clearly panders to a more “southern” crowd which tends to be more conservative, the show itself had clearly crossed over to people who had no interest in hunting, fishing, ducks or anything that the brand Duck Commander represents. I think it’s a lot of those people that the show lost.
I think fatigue of the show also plays a large part. You can’t go anywhere now days and not see Duck Dynasty or Duck Commander somewhere. Heck, I’ve seen Duck Dynasty wine.
But I do think Phil Robertson’s comments play a part. As the country moves closer and closer to legalizing same-sex marriage, and Americans as a whole are far more supportive of gay rights than they were just a few years ago, his comments showcased an archaic way of thinking that’s dying off (though slowly) in this country. And thankfully more and more Americans are becoming intolerant toward those who ignorantly express their intolerance toward others.