This probably isn’t exactly what the Robertson family thought was going to happen. Following the ignorant interview Phil Robertson gave last month to GQ Magazine and his subsequent “suspension” from A&E (for about a week), tens of millions of Ducky Dynasty supporters rushed to the defense of Robertson and his “right to free speech.”
Even though our First Amendment only protects us from government prosecution, not repercussions we might be subjected to by private groups or employers for things we say.
Well, the general consensus many of his supporters (and advertisers) believed was that once the show began airing again, ratings would be through the roof. I’ll even admit that I thought ratings would go up when I considered the general uptick in popularity with a “soaring” brand, coupled with the theory that Robertson supporters would tune in to support the show.
Except that’s not at all what’s happened. The season premiere saw a 28 percent drop from the previous year garnering 8.5 million viewers, down from the nearly 12 million they had last January.
And it appears episode #2 didn’t fare any better. The second episode for this new season saw viewership drop by about 21 percent to 6.65 million viewers – down from the 8.5 million from the week before.
Not only that, it was the show’s lowest rating in 13 months.
Perhaps this is all just a big coincidence, but I really don’t believe that it is. Before Robertson’s interview went public, all evidence pointed to Duck Dynasty’s popularity continuing to rise. Heck, I saw Duck Dynasty Christmas decorations and chocolate bars. It really felt like they were taking over the world. Everywhere you went, their merchandise seemed to be there.
So it doesn’t make any sense that suddenly the ratings for their show would just plummet.
I guess there is a price for ignorance after all. But while the ratings are still respectable, don’t forget the power that advertisers have over shows. Many key advertisers, already on the fence about advertising during Duck Dynasty due to Robertson’s comments, were probably banking on the show’s ratings increasing. That clearly hasn’t happened.
The risk associated with ignoring the groups pushing them to drop Duck Dynasty might have seemed worth it when they anticipated record ratings, but since the exact opposite seems to be happening, I won’t be shocked at all to see several big advertisers pull out of advertising during the show.
If that does happen, the end of Duck Dynasty on A&E probably isn’t too far behind. It’s definitely going to be an interesting situation to keep an eye on.