It's looking more and more like "Duck Dynasty" might be over and end its popular run on A&E, after clan patriarch Phil Robertson was suspended by the network for comments made in his infamous GQ interview. Sources are saying Friday that the family is "very serious" about walking away from the reality TV show, according to E! News on Dec. 20.
Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson got into hot water with the cable network for his comments about homosexuality being illogical, deviant behavior. He also drew more ire over his opinion that blacks were better off before the civil rights movement.
People have come out on both sides of his divisive comments, some taking Phil Robertson to task for uttering the irresponsible words that could set back race relations and the country's burgeoning acceptance towards the LGBT community.
Others have rallied to his defense citing freedom of speech, and spouting cries of discrimination towards the family leader.
The Robertsons are said to be an extremely tight-knit group, and they're not about to let their reality series get in the way, according to an inside source connected to the family.
They credit Phil with all their success and they're not going to abandon him now. Also, they are not about to let anyone or anything threaten their deeply rooted religious beliefs.
According to another source who works on the "Duck Dynasty" show, the feeling behind the scenes is that this has become "a big p*ssing match", where no one can win.
Current plans are to keep Phil in the upcoming fourth season, which is still set to premiere Jan. 15 on A&E. The season was already wrapped before this controversy exploded. It's simply too late to cut him out at this point.
But the big question becomes will there be a fifth season of the hugely popular show, and if so will it still air on A&E? Many pundits point out that the cable network most likely needs the Roberson clan more than they need the show.
"Duck Dynasty" is A&E's highest-rated show of all time, and is the second-biggest cable series of the year, behind AMC's "The Walking Dead". The Christmas special drew just under 9 million viewers.
Meanwhile, the Robertson family is estimated to be worth a cool $400 million, hence the dynasty nomenclature. Interestingly though, more than half of that comes from their retail brand, currently being sold at Walmart.
That could be in jeopardy now just as the huge retailer yanked their Paula Deen collection, following her N-word fiasco in June.
The source who works on the "Duck Dynasty" show believes that the Phil Robertson controversy just "can't end well", and thinks the series will ultimately end up being axed.
"If the network backs down and they bring Phil back, they look weak", the insider explains, adding, "If they stand their ground, the family probably won't move forward and A&E loses their highest rated show".
Sure sounds like a lose-lose situation.
A&E did not respond to a request for comment.