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A&E's 'Duck Dynasty' tops 'Jon & Kate' for cable ratings record

A&E's 'Duck Dynasty' tops 'Jon & Kate' for cable ratings record
Members of the Robertson family of the A&E reality show "Duck Dynasty" are seen at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in February. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

No wonder the bearded stars of "Duck Dynasty" are getting big salary bumps.

The A&E reality series drew 11.8 million viewers in its Season 4 premiere Wednesday night, the most ever for a nonfiction cable series telecast.

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That's more than 1 million more than the previous record-holder, which was "Jon & Kate Plus 8." That program's infamous breakup episode brought in 10.6 million when it aired in June 2009 on TLC.

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In addition to the landmark total viewership, "Duck Dynasty" also set a record in the adults 25-54 demographic, with 6.3 million viewers.

"Duck Dynasty's" ratings exploded over last year's. Viewership for Wednesday night's episode of the series, which follows a West Monroe, La., family that owns a highly successful duck call business, was 37% higher that the third season premiere. 

It hooked 6.3 million viewers in the key adults 18-49 demographic, along with 3 million in 18-34.

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