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January 17, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

How much did the controversy over Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson’s remarks about gays and blacks affect ratings for the show as it opened its fifth season? Hard to say. The series attracted 8.5 million total viewers, 4.2 million in the 18-49 age group. That figure was down just 400,000 from the December Christmas special, which aired at the peak of the controversy, but it was down a whopping 3.3 million for the premiere of the fourth season last summer, according to TVbytheNumbers. The conservative put this spin on the numbers: “The ratings figures weren’t as high as the first episode from season 4 … [but] for perspective, the first new episode of the HBO series Girls‘ third season drew 1.1 million viewers.” The item was headlined “Duck Dynasty Premiere Draws Nearly 8X Audience of HBO’s Girls.” (The problem with that comparison is that HBO is a pay-TV channel with 28 million total subscribers in the U.S., while A&E is a free basic cable network with a potential audience of around 90 million.) Advertising Age reported today (Friday) that no advertiser has apparently dropped out of the show. It noted that frequent advertisers Home Depot, Geico, Darden Restaurants, Subway, Hershey and AT&T were all back with national or local ads.