Controversy and sagging TV ratings aside, the bearded Robertson family of A&E’s reality series “Duck Dynasty” still represents a certain something important to a large number of Americans, and a lot of those American vote. Which is probably why Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal agreed to appear in the show’s sixth season premiere, which will air June 11.
According to the Associated Press, Jindal paid a visit to the family’s duck call operation in West Monroe, La., in February to present the Robertsons with the first-ever Governor’s Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence. The family-run operation was founded in West Monroe in 1972 and is now a multi-million dollar business.
The series reached the height of its popularity in late 2013, when the fourth season drew an average of more than 9 million viewers per episode. But then Phil Robertson, founder of the company, gave an interview to GQ magazine in which he made comments critical of gay people and wondered if African Americans were better off under Jim Crow laws. The comments led to Robertson’s indefinite suspension from the series, which in turn led to a heated cultural debate.
In a statement on his website at the time, Gov. Jindal supported the Robertson family, saying: “Phil Robertson and his family are great citizens of the state of Louisiana. The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they disagree with.”
Eventually, A&E reversed its decision and Robertson returned to the series, but the controversy surprisingly didn’t help ratings. The fifth season was down in the ratings, with an average of 6.5 million viewers watching the episodes that aired in the early months of 2014. (When all viewers of the episodes’ multiple airings throughout the week are added up, the average raised to 10.5 million for the season).
From the story descriptions provided by A&E for the new season, it doesn’t look like the series plans to become any more political in Season 6, with Phil Robertson doing battle with beavers on his property.