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Following anti-gay controversy, Duck Dynasty ratings slide to lowest in more than a year

Show loses nearly 2 million viewers from season premiere a week earlier
Phil_Robertson of Duck Dynasty
Photo: A&E Networks

Duck Dynasty's ratings seem to be on a downhill slide.

Ratings for the second episode of the show's fifth season were down by nearly 2 million viewers compared to the episode a week prior.

Those are the first two installments of the The A&E reality series to air since anti-gay comments made by cast member Phil Robertson surfaced in a GQ interview last month.

He was briefly suspended from the show.

According to the Nielsen ratings service, 6.65 million viewers saw this week's episode - the lowest number for a non-rerun of Duck Dynasty since December 2012.

The fifth season premiere was seen last week by 8.5 million viewers - a 28% drop from the record-setting fourth season premiere last August.

The show about about a family that has made a fortune from its duck hunting products has had two seasons per year.

Illustrating a drop in ratings is this: the fourth season premiere episode had a record 11.8 million viewers and the third season premiere attracted 8.6 million viewers last February, according to Entertainment Weekly.

But the show remains solid with adults 18-49, the demographic advertisers most covet.  Among all US programs on Wednesday (22 January), the show ranked behind only Fox’s American Idol and ABC’s Modern Family in that age group.

Robertson will not be missing from any episodes of the show this season. He was briefly suspended from the show by A&E following furor over anti-gay comments he made in the GQ interview.

A&E had initially expressed 'disappointment' in Robertson's comments and quickly distanced itself from him. But they reversed their decision following fan protests with many defending Robertson's right to free speech.

Robertson had said in part: ‘Women with women, men with men, they committed indecent acts with one another, and they received in themselves the due penalty for their perversions. … Gays and lesbians are ‘full of murder, envy, strife, hatred. They are insolent, arrogant, God-haters. They are heartless, they are faithless, they are senseless, they are ruthless.’

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