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It seems Phil Robertson’s controversy didn’t help the ratings for the Season 5 premiere of A&E’s Duck Dynasty, as the season premiere episode viewership was the lowest of previous two years.
Wednesday night’s premiere was down 28 percent from Season 4’s premiere, although 8.5 million viewers isn’t much to complain about. Last year, 11.8 million viewers tuned in.
According to EW, the Season 5 premiere numbers are up from last season’s finale, though. However, it’s typical to compare premiere viewership.
The Season 5 opener was down just 400,00 viewers from the Duck Dynasty Christmas special, which 8.9 million viewers tuned in for.
The Hollywood Reporter notes that the show did not beat out the Season 13 premiere of Fox’s American Idol, which had 15 million viewers.
Back in December, Phil Robertson’s comments to GQ magazine about gay people led him to be suspended from the A&E show briefly. However, after fans started petitions to get him back, the network obliged.