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'Duck Dynasty' calls it a wrap, says current season is its last

'Duck Dynasty' calls it a wrap, says current season is its last
It's the final "Duck Dynasty" season for Robertson family members Phil, from left, Jase, Si and Willie. (Zach Dilgard / A&E / Associated Press)

Enjoy “Duck Dynasty” while you can: The show’s 11th season will be its last, the Robertson family announced Thursday. 

“After five years, we've decided as a family for this to be the final chapter of the 'Duck Dynasty' series,” Jase Robertson said in a lighthearted video on Facebook that promised “the best season yet.”

“May God bless each and every one of you,” said Si Robertson, brother of family patriarch Phil Robertson.

The show, which at one point was cable TV’s most-watched nonfiction series, revolves around the close-knit, socially conservative family that runs the Duck Commander and Buck Commander sporting-goods companies in West Moore, La. It premiered in 2012 and peaked in 2013 with nearly 12 million viewers, according to Nielsen. 

The show lost some of its luster in December 2013 after the always-outspoken Phil Robertson sounded off on homosexuality and black people in an interview with GQ magazine. The family patriarch was suspended from the show for a week before A&E reversed its decision in response to outrage from fans and family threats to bail out on the show. 

"While Phil's comments made in the interview reflect his personal views based on his own beliefs, and his own personal journey, he and his family have publicly stated they regret the 'coarse language' he used and the misinterpretation of his core belief based solely on the article," network executives said in a statement at the time.

"But 'Duck Dynasty' is not a show about one man's views. It resonates with a large audience because it is a show about family … a family that America has come to love."

(Incidentally, Cracker Barrel restaurants resumed selling Duck Commander products shortly after the dust-up as well, also bowing to customer protests.) 

By the middle of 2014, however, ratings had fallen off by about two-thirds, Nielsen reported. Despite comments at that time by an A&E exec promising a “strong franchise” that would “continue for a number of years," by January 2015, rumors predicting the show’s demise were bubbling. In summer 2015, the Las Vegas musical “Duck Commander,” based on a family-written book about the show, closed a month early because of weak ticket sales. 

Still, the Robertsons’ names made the news during the recent election cycle as Phil became Ted Cruz’s lone celebrity supporter before shifting his endorsement to Donald Trump, and family business CEO Willie Robertson opened the prime-time portion of the first night of the Republican National Convention. 

Even now, done might not really mean done.

In Thursday’s announcement, Korie Robertson, wife of Willie, said: "You might see us again on a special or two." 

The final episodes of “Duck Dynasty” will air Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on A&E until the series finale on April 12. 

Follow Christie D’Zurilla on Twitter @theCDZ.

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