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'Duck Dynasty' season 5: Is stunted growth the beginning of the end?

“Duck Dynasty” didn’t pick up the number of viewers that was expected for the season 5 premiere on Wednesday night. The numbers suggest that Phil’s controversial gay comments might have rocked the viewing boat and tipped a few off deck.

"Duck Dynasty" season 5 premiere had 3 million less viewers than season 4 premiere, which is not a good sign.
Duck Dynasty promo from A&E

According to MSN on Jan. 18, the numbers weren’t just a little off. The difference between the numbers of folks who tuned in to watch the season 5 premiere in comparison to the numbers of viewers who watched the season 4 premiere was off by more than three million.

On Wednesday night 8.5 million tuned into “Duck Dynasty” season 5 premier. For the season premiere before this one, season 4, “Duck Dynasty” captured 11.8 million folks, which is over three million more. This is the first dip in premiere numbers for the show.

It double its audience between the season 1 premiere and the season 2 premiere. It doubled once again between season 2 and season 3. The new season 5 drew as many viewers as season 3 did. This was very disappointing to the powers-who-be behind the “Duck Dynasty” scenes.

MSN reminds their readers that “if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, maybe Phil Robertson might have been better off keeping his opinions to himself.”

If he had, they may have been sitting with three million more viewers tuning into season 5 of the “Duck Dynasty” premiere. Is this the beginning of the end for the "Duck Dynasty" show? Or was it due to wane in numbers anyway, even if Phil had not dumped his philosophy into the lap of the nation via an interview?