Duck Dynasty Season Finale Rating Lowest Since First Season

duck-dynasty-sadWhether or not you’re a conservative or a liberal, the funny thing about reality is that it’s real whether you want to believe in it or not.  It’s a line often used when talking about those who don’t believe in science.  People can deny things like evolution all they want, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s real.

The same goes for the downward spiral of Duck Dynasty’s ratings.  The fact that this season was possibly their worst yet is indisputable.  Sure, someone might deny that fact, but that doesn’t change the reality that this season’s ratings were horrible.

Take for instance their season finale.  Ratings weren’t only down for this season’s finale over last, but they were the lowest ratings since the first season.  Around 6 million people tuned in for this season’s finale, down from 8.4 million the season before.

For another look at numbers, last season’s premiere netted 11.5 million viewers, this season – 8.5 million.  Which is significant considering the “overwhelming support” the Robertson family (and the show) were to have supposedly received from conservatives following Phil Robertson’s suspension for his highly offensive comments about homosexuals and African-Americans.

This is why boycotts work more than “a wave of support.”  If millions of people completely stop giving their “business” (be it through eating at an establishment or watching a show) that means that particular business loses out completely – and possibly forever – on those customers.

Sure, that business might get a temporary uptick of support from those who don’t oppose whatever it was that caused a boycott, but that’s going to fade out over time.  Unless those people who support the business frequent it at such a rate that it makes up for the millions who refuse to give it any kind of business whatsoever – the boycott undoubtedly has an impact.

But in the case of Duck Dynasty, it doesn’t even seem like conservatives rushed to support it.  It appeared they would show huge support following their “outrage” at his suspension, but the numbers tell a different story.

So, were Phil Robertson’s comments to blame?  There’s really no way to tell with absolute certainty.  But it does say something to me that following those comments, Duck Dynasty experienced possibly its most disappointing season yet.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.

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  • MLR

    I don’t know if Phil Robertson’s comments are to blame for the low ratings but I do know this, I personally will never step foot at a cracker barrel ever again. And I refuse to watch A&E to the point where I won’t even pass through their channel when channel surfing. I will actually take the time to punch in 49 on my remote just to pass over A&E. I also know my teenage kids boycotted A&E on their own without my input. Bigotry and racism disgusts most decent people and I really believe that America has a silent majority of good decent people and while I was disappointed that A&E and cracker barrel so easily gave in to the loud conservative crowd, I always felt deep down inside that most decent people would simply refuse to watch the show.

    • DFP

      Why Cracker Barrel? Just curious. I didn’t know they were involved in this controversy. (I don’t watch Duck Dynasty, and the comments made by Phil Robertson would have stopped me from watching if I did!)

      • Trevor Bordelon

        Cracker Barrel decided to remove any Duck Dynasty, Duck Commander, and Buck Commander merchandise from their stores after the comments by Mr. Robertson. The threatened boycott by supporters of the show after that caused CB to renege on that decision, because it was easier to pander to a group of “angry” people than to stand for what is decent and right.

      • Fox

        This goes way back. Cracker Barrel had an official anti-gay employment policy until 2002. Their firings of gay and lesbian employees made them infamous within the community. We had boycotted for over a decade. They only changed their stance when the boycott and word-of-mouth had picked up enough steam to take a toll on the bottom line. They didn’t win me back when they changed their policy. Like the article says, some people just refuse to go back once the damage is done.

    • The Deacon

      Taken in the proper context, what he actually said in the Slate interview isn’t that inflammatory… He suggested that, while he believes homosexuality is a sin, he also thinks it’s God’s place to judge sin and our place to accept people. All he said about black people was that the black people he personally knew and worked with back then were happy, and did not seem to be particularly oppressed. That may have been an ignorant observation, but it was his opinion of the black families he knew in those times. We should all read the interview in question before jumping on the “he’s a horrible, racist bigot” bandwagon and tossing this guy to the wolves.

  • slidai

    Honestly, I think the show just got old. Obviously the statements made by Phil hurt the show to some point, but I really think the biggest reason is the show just got old. I’m reminded of the Simpsons episode where Bart says “I didn’t do it”.

  • JW

    I don’t support these guys at all, but six million viewers is still a huge ratings number. Sure, it’s gone down, but any cable TV channel would be perfectly happy with that number.

  • George Streeter

    Not that I was a fan of the show anyway but when nothing else was on I watched it a few times. Not since the Phil comments were made public. The lower ratings may just reflect that you can only do so much redneck stuff before the public gets bored. Or the obvious scripted “reality” stuff is not fooling anyone anymore. I’m sure some of it is people who are boycotting it but who knows how much of the drop is due to that? My bet is most of us who found Phils comments repulsive were not the shows base anyway.

  • DN

    There might be something else going on here as well, even the supporters are boycotting the show. I have a number of them in my social group and posts about making sure that they only purchased Duck Commander as opposed to Duck Dynasty were aplenty. It could be that a number of them see watching the show as a way to support A&E’s actions. A better litmus test would be to look at sales of Duck Commander merchandise both before and after. Either way, I hope it results in this garbage being pulled from the air.

  • Ray Sharradh

    The bloom is off the rose. There’s only so much you can do in West Monroe LA, and it just isn’t going to hold the attention of 8-million-plus viewers. But, seriously, for A&E – 6-million-plus viewers isn’t exactly bad digits. I quit watching because it got boring. The show got way too centered on whacky Uncle Si, and quite frankly, it got to be WAY too much of a stretch to call this “reality TV”.

  • jwald1

    I think being outed as golf playing yuppies pretending to be hillbillies hurt them more than anything, viewers were punked.

    • Melanie Collins Pennock

      I agree! Like most “Reality” shows, there is nothing REAL about it!

  • Kerry Norton

    Never watched DD. I live in North GA so being surrounded by hate-mongering redneck hillbillies IS reality for me. No need to watch the show. I also hate Honey Boo Boo. The reality is: ignorance, stupidity, and bigotry should not be idolized on so called “reality” TV. Nevermind. Ignorance, stupidity, and bigotry are reality and will be hard to change without education and the intolerance of such intolerance.

  • We watched the show for a while at my house, and it became more obvious over time how artificial and contrived it was. It took a while to catch on, but by now it’s clear to pretty much everybody.