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'Duck Dynasty' returns tonight, but will ratings?



Remember that Duck Dynasty flap (sorry, puns are impossible to avoid in Duck stories) last month? Chances are, neither does anyone else.

Patriarch Phil Robertson was suspended from the A&E hit show for calling homosexuality a sin and equating it to bestiality in a GQ profile. He also said that  black people were happier before the civil rights movement. The Robertson clan returns to A&e tonight at 10 p.m. for a fifth season and the pre-holiday feather-ruffling (sorry again) isn’t expected to make a dent in viewership.

GLAAD, the gay-rights organization that was quick to condemn Robertson's remarks and call the show "a stain" on A&E, has not spoken about the incident since then. Yahoo reported that A&E and GLAAD are expected to meet this week for a flap follow-up, but A&E would not comment on the report.

Duck is a ratings monster, raning No. 2 series on cable TV, behind The Walking Dead, and is among the top 30 of all TV shows with an average of 13.4 million viewers.

There have been no reports on advertisers withdrawing because of the flap, so is anyone going to stay away? Chances are good that the core audience will tune in just to see if anything is amiss (unlikely since the whole season was already in the can when the controversy erupted) and those who had never watched will decide to check it out.

If they do, they will find a sitcom, not a soap box. The show has never been about politics or religion or even gun issues. It's about a family that loves each other and wants to throttle each other, often in the same episode.

New this season is the little-known family member Rebecca Robertson, the adopted daughter of Willie and Korie Robertson, who returns home to Louisiana after working in Los Angeles. According to the Christian Post, Rebecca was an exchange student from Taiwan, who was then fostered and adopted by the Robertson family.

[Last modified: Tuesday, January 14, 2014 4:36pm]


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