After a month of controversy over anti-gay and pro-Jim Crow statements, suspensions from A&E, reinstatement to A&E, and Twitter pages gone wild, Phil Robertson and the rest of the family returns to the fifth season of the Louisiana-based reality show.
Duck Dynasty will air once again on A&E at 10pm E.T. tonight. But will there be changes in the show? Likely not considering this season was already wrapped up before last month's controversy even began. In fact, the network has been continually airing re-runs until the new season begins.
As far as Phil's "suspension" goes - well, it didn't. A&E lifted the suspension only a few weeks after they announced it, not affecting anything at all about the show. Supporters of Phil (the "I Stand With Phil" fans) feel as if they have won their moral fight and those who were highly offended by his statements believe he was punished.
Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal came to the defense of the Robertsons in December saying, “Phil Robertson and his family are great citizens of the State of Louisiana. The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they disagree with."
"In fact", he added. "I remember when TV networks believed in the First Amendment."
However, despite Jindal and Sarah Palin's support, there is no First Amendment right to having your own television show. Nonetheless, the old-school family - Miss Kay, Phil, Willie, Si, Jase, and Korie - is back tonight with their show holding the slot for the number one unscripted series on television.
The 11.8 million viewers of the reality show will most likely continue watching and naysayers will do as they always have done: refuse to watch it. Perhaps Duck Dynasty will pick up a few new curious viewers who have had the name drilled into their ears by media (print and social) and by simply walking into Wal-Mart, where the Duck Dynasty merchandise has generated over $200 million for the Robertsons.
In fact, even more revenue will be generated this season since Food for Health International announced today that they will retain license with the Duck Commander and Buck Commander franchises, owned by the Robertson family, for the company's line of 29 freeze-dried and dehydrated meals for outdoor adventures.
"Food for Health is extremely proud to partner with the Duck Commander and Buck Commander lines to further promote families gathered around the table to share delicious meals, and families engaged in outdoor activities in the tradition of the Robertson family,” said Founder and CEO, Frank Davis. “Their widespread appeal to family values and traditions of hunting make for the perfect partnership with our company.”
Willie Robertson, CEO of Duck Commander and Buck Commander responded by saying, “Our family franchises are built on hard work, family values and our great American heritage. We hope the Duck Commander Meals will help families take command of their hunger with fast-fixin’ food that’s whisker-lickin’ good.”
So, the duck call will continue on, drawing in both waterfowl and viewers - and lots of green.
Image via Twitter