• "Duck Dynasty" was incredibly successful, gathering an audience of 11 million viewers in its premiere.
• Ratings began to decline as the seasons progressed and the show was eventually cancelled in March 2017.
• The show's downfall is attributed to the scandals surrounding the family, particularly Phil Robertson's controversial comments on homosexuality and race.
• The cast has been pursuing a variety of projects since the show's cancellation, from business ventures to public speaking and writing books.
• Though fans still expect the Robertsons to return to TV, there is no news of a possible revival yet.
Reality TV is an incredibly successful genre on its own, but very few shows have achieved what “Duck Dynasty” has. Besides gathering over 11 million fans in a record breaking season’s premiere, the Robertson’s family earned hundreds of millions of dollars in sale of merchandise alone, thanks to the show.
Nonetheless, no matter how successful a TV show becomes, it has to end sooner or later. The dreaded final episode of “Duck Dynasty” finally came in March 2017, and while the show’s ratings weren’t as fantastic then as in previous years, a big part of the audience was left wanting to see more of the Robertsons.
So whatever happened to the show? Why did it end and what’s up with the cast’s whereabouts? Stay with us to know all!
Why “Duck Dynasty” Ended?
The finale of “Duck Dynasty” was announced shortly after its 11th season’s premiere. Though the Robertsons initially explained that it was a ‘family decision’ to let the show end, not many people were convinced.
While there are several theories explaining “Duck Dynasty”s cancellation, faulting the show’s low ratings for it is the safest way to go in this case. As it happens, “Duck Dynasty” surely had record-breaking audience numbers, even gaining the title of ‘cable’s most-watched non-fiction telecast’ back in 2013, but ratings took a downturn as the seasons progressed.
The show passed from having nine million viewers on average during its fourth season, to having one million by the time the 11th season premiered. This is enough to explain its cancellation, especially considering at some point the family earned an overall $200,000 per episode, which is logically quite a lot for a show with such a declining audience.
Why The Show Lost So Many Viewers?
Explaining why a show had a sudden audience drop is not an easy task, especially considering the many factors which influence viewers’ choice of what to watch.
While it’s easy to assume the audience simply lost interest in the Robertsons, many people theorize that the scandals surrounding the family while the show aired played the biggest role in “Duck Dynasty”s ratings downturn. It all goes back to December 2013, when in an interview with GQ, the family’s patriarch, Phil Robertson received a huge backlash for affirming ‘homosexual behavior’ was sinful, and the road’s start to ‘bestiality’ and adultery.
Phil was also criticized for affirming that African-Americans were happy before the Civil Rights movements took place. Later on, The Hollywood Reporter published a series of emails on which he lashed out against trans people rights.
Of course, this scandal didn’t go unnoticed by the “Duck Dynasty” network A&E, and Phil was suspended from the show right away. However, this also caused a huge controversy, as Phil’s fans and family defended him on the basis of freedom of speech. Phil’s suspension was eventually cancelled, but the damage was apparently already done.
The fact that from then on the show’s ratings went downhill doesn’t seem to be a coincidence, but an expected result of what his words caused.
Where Is The Cast Now?
Although he’s the creator of the Duck Commander and the family’s business, it’s been a while since his son Willie took the company’s CEO position. With a lot of free time on his hands, Phil has actively raised his opinion on politics, religion and conservatism for a while now.
Despite the huge scandals surrounding his public life, his career didn’t end with the “Duck Dynasty” finale. In October 2017, his own show “In The Woods With Phil” premiered on the online channel BlazeTV, followed by the 2020’s spin-off “In The Quarantine With Phil“, which is a humorous and dramatized take of life during the COVID-19 contingency.
In June 2021, Phil released his Christianity-centered book, “Your Daily Phil”, though his followers were already used to often being updated on his life through his podcast “Unashamed”, which he hosts alongside his son Jase.
Though Phil was once known for his aversion to technology, his Instagram account is surprisingly active, and has over 200,000 followers.
She was one of the most loved “Duck Dynasty” stars for a good reason. Often addressed by her family as Miss Kay, Marsha was always an understanding mother, wife and friend, besides being a particularly brilliant cook. She has released several recipe books, including “The Women of Duck Commander”, written alongside other female members of the Robertson family.
Unfortunately, in June 2021 Kay went through a very difficult time when her dog Bobo bit her on the lips while she was kissing him goodnight. She and Phil rushed to emergency, she was hospitalized and required reconstructive surgery. The accident wasn’t blamed on the pet, as the family deeply appreciates Bobo, who is apparently blind and only acted on instinct.
Kay’s recovery details were kept a secret for several months until September that year, when she appeared in her brother-in-law Si’s podcast “Duck Call Room“, looking as good as ever.
Willie & Korie
Willie is the CEO of Duck Commander for his impressive business skills, which were apparently evident from childhood, as his parents Kay and Phil affirm. Nonetheless, Willie doesn’t just manage the family business, as he’s been unapologetically involved with conservative parties for years.
On the business side, he and Korie founded the Louisiana-based restaurant Willie’s Duck Diner in 2017. Despite this short-lived venture, in 2020 the couple eventually started “At Home With The Robertsons”, an online series centered on a surprisingly wide variety of topics of general interest during the pandemic.
However, not everything has been good news for Willie and Korie in recent times.
Korie & Willie hit the #AENUpfront last night. A new season of #DuckDynasty is coming soon to A&E!
Posted by Duck Dynasty on Friday, May 1, 2015
In 2020 a man identified as Daniel King Jr. was charged with an assault count for shooting at Willie’s family house while driving a Ford F-250 vehicle. Although no one was harmed in the incident, King was promptly arrested and a restriction order was put on him.
The case eventually took a shocking turn when King filed a lawsuit against Willie and his family for defamation, affirming that the claims the Robertsons made of him were ‘calculated’ and ‘false’. King also contended that the assault charges pressed on him were too severe.
Alan & Lisa
While his siblings were more focused on politics or business, Alan was the most religious-oriented of them. He and his wife Lisa worked 22 years as full-time ministers, leaving them with almost no time to appear in the show during the first four seasons.
Alan and Lisa became more noticeable to the audience as the show progressed, though they were also pursuing a career off-camera as public speakers at the same time.
The couple appears in public and private events as marriage advisors, with their experience and wisdom to help other couples coming from their own past struggles with addictions and infidelities, according to their website.
While their business is running, Alan and Lisa kept mostly to themselves on social media. Nonetheless, in June 2021, Alan renewed the hopes of “Duck Dynasty” fans by leaving open the possibility of a spin-off series, centered in the family’s youngest generation.
Jase & Missy
As the family’s second oldest son, and by occupying a high position in Duck Commander, it’s normal that Jase is a very talk-about man, and he enjoys the attention. Known for his strong opinions in politics, in 2015 Jase was very vocal against gun control, an opinion he maintains to this day, regardless of the drive-by shooting of his brother Willie’s house in 2020.
While that might seem expected from Jase, his most sensible side is seen while talking about his daughter Mia.
As it happens, his and Missy’s daughter was born with a cleft lip and palate, a condition which has resulted in at least 12 procedures to fix it. In early 2021, Mia underwent surgery which would apparently make her ‘teeth and jaws’ function properly.
Although it’s unknown if Mia will need to undergo further procedures, her fantastic recovery was evident in September that year, on her 18th birthday.
If it’s not evident enough how concentrated they are with their daughter’s cause, back in 2014 Jase and Missy started the Mia Moo Foundation to help other children suffering a cleft lip.
Jep & Jessica
As the youngest son of Phil and Kay, it’s quite normal that Jep was very involved in every family activity. He and his wife Jessica’s constant presence in the show played in their favor, to the point where they got their own 2016’s spin-off series – “Growing The Dynasty” – which aired for two seasons with considerably high ratings.
Nonetheless, in recent years Jep, Jessica and their four children have taken a different route compared to the rest of their family, by moving to Texas where they established Jep’s Southern Roots, a food truck they had worked hard to make a reality for years.
‘Duck Dynasty’ Stars Jep & Jessica Robertson Introduce Adopted Son (VIDEO) http://wet.pt/1PlcLl9
Posted by The Secret Life of the American Teenager Fansite by Wetpaint.com on Thursday, January 21, 2016
As expected, the restaurant’s menu comes mainly from his family’s recipe books, preserving their undeniable southern spirit but with a modern touch. Not forgetting their routes and love for cameras, the couple could be seen preparing their favorite food on their conjoined YouTube channel.
Though their move to Austin might have been surprising to many people, it doesn’t mean that they’ve distanced themselves from the Robertsons. Just taking a look at their social media accounts tells us that they see each other as often as they can.
John Luke and Mary Kate
Despite their young age, John Luke and Mary Kate have one of the most endearing relationships in the Robertson family. They first met in 2010 in a Summer Camp, when both were barely 18 years old. That cute first meeting resulted in a long-lasting relationship, and their unavoidable engagement in 2014. At the time John had only just hit the 22-year-old mark, which made the fact he wanted to marry even more surprising for “Duck Dynasty”s audience.
Nonetheless, it was clear for John Luke that marrying young was the way to go for him, as it followed his parents Willie and Korie’s example, telling US Weekly: ‘they are more in love than ever, and I hope Mary Kate and I are the same way in the years to come’.
A year later, John and Mary married in front of “Duck Dynasty” cameras for the world to see. In October 2019, they welcomed their first son John Shepherd, who was a year old by the time the couple’s first daughter Elle was born in April 2021.
Nowadays, John Luke works as a public speaker in Christian events, in addition to publishing several books in the ‘young adult faith’ category. On her part, Mary Kate manages The Little Duck Wife blog, on which she shares her knowledge on topics related to well-being, fashion and her experiences as a young mother.
She might be one of the youngest members of the Robertson clan, but Sadie’s fame certainly surpasses the show.
In 2014 she rose to fame on her own by finishing second in the 19th season of “Dancing With The Stars”. Later on, she played roles in Christian movies such as “God’s Not Dead” and “Sun, Sand, & Romance” in 2017.
Sadie also sang on her family’s popular album “Duck The Halls”, followed by the release of her book “Live Original” in 2014. Two years later she visited 45 cities during her Live Original Tour, a sold-out Christian event, which included presentations by her brother John Luke and other members of her family.
While she’s been less active in the entertainment world in the last couple of years, her personal life became interesting. In 2019 she married Christian Huff, with whom she welcomed their daughter Honey in early 2021, more than welcome news for everyone, as Sadie had previously faced a challenging time in October 2020 after being diagnosed with COVID-19 while pregnant.
Fortunately, baby Honey is a healthy girl, and while Sadie struggled with severe postpartum anxiety, she is doing better nowadays.
Will “Duck Dynasty” Return To TV?
It’s not a secret that many people still wait for the Robertson family’s eventual return to TV, though not everyone wants to see the same old show. Instead, many fans are wanting a new show focused on the Robertson’s new generations, which admittedly might be a good change from the old show’s concept.
Unfortunately, there’s no positive news regarding either option. Though Fox surprisingly put “Duck Dynasty” seasons available on their streaming website recently, the many scandals surrounding the family make their return an unlikely possibility.
Could a miracle happen to put the Robersons on TV again? That’s unknown yet but there’s no doubt that a part of their once loyal audience still waits for them.