It's no secret that Duck Dynasty's ratings have been dropping for some time now.
There wasn't as much concern early in the season. Even though it was clear that the show's popularity had peaked in the wake of the Phil Robertson controversy, many imagined that its ratings would hold steady.
However with numbers like these ahead of the season finale, fans may have a good reason to worry about the reality television show's fate.
The fifth season started on enough of a high, pulling in 8.5 million viewers for the season premiere. A lot people no doubt tuned in to see what all the fuss was about following the negative internet chatter.
Duck Dynasty fans saw the numbers as affirmation that Robertson's comments were as inoffensive to the rest of the world as it was to them. A&E likely saw this as a sign they were right to restore Robertson after his controversial comments.
However as both A&E and the faithful Duck Dynasty audience soon saw, television audiences are a truly fickle bunch. While the controversy likely cost them faithful viewers, it was also not enough to keep new viewers interested for very long.
— Progressive Push (@progressivepush) March 23, 2014
— HowdyMO (@howdyMO) March 22, 2014
— Ron Hebshie (@RONTHINKblog) March 21, 2014
With each passing week the show's ratings began to slide. This past week the episode finished with 4.7 million viewers. This means that the reality television show managed to lose about half the audience it started the season with. Ouch!
To rub salt into the wound, it was dethroned reality tv show leader for the week after Bravo's Real Housewives of Atlanta edged out its 1.9 number with a slightly better 2.0.
Duck Dynasty will likely see higher numbers for the season finale on March 26th. Even so, the numbers will likely be a far cry from the 11.7 million viewer record that it set last summer.
The show's future is already turning into a question mark. To drop half your audience in a single season is generally a death knell.
Unless A&E makes some serious changes, anything beyond an additional season may be overly optimistic regarding the future of Duck Dynasty.
Image via YouTube