When we agreed to interview “Duck Dynasty” star Willie Robertson earlier this week in anticipation of the very first “Duck Dynasty” Christmas special on Wednesday, we really didn’t expect the show to set a ratings record for A&E.
We were fairly certain the show would be entertaining — which it turned out to be — and we also figured it would do OK in the ratings, since this A&E reality series about a clan of bearded brothers (and other friends and relatives) who manufacture duck calls in Louisiana has been growing in the ratings every week.
But the viewership for this holiday special was so huge that the show leaps to the top of this week’s Top Five. How many people watched? Read on and you’ll find out:
1) “Duck” amuck: A&E crowed about the ratings on Friday, two days after the “Duck Dynasty” Christmas special — titled “I’m Dreaming of a Redneck Christmas” — aired Wednesday night at 10/9c. The show attracted 6.5 million viewers, which, much to our surprise, was a record high for any show in the history of A&E. Moreover, it was a huge increase from the week before, when two back-to-back, half-hour episodes averaged 4.8 million viewers, itself a good number for A&E. How good a number is 6.5 million? Well, to put it more or less in perspective, it’s a whole lot better than a lot of shows are doing in prime-time on the big networks these days. So it’s no wonder A&E was crowing about its “Duck” show this week. The only bad news: The momentum now screeches to a halt as “Duck Dynasty” goes on hiatus until February. Meanwhile, read our story from earlier this week, here. And then …
2) Albert Brooks, teller of tall tales: Only an old hand like Albert Brooks could get away with this. The veteran comedian, 65, started out in his appearance this week on “Late Show with David Letterman” by blowing a big hole in the late-night show format. What did he do? He started by “admitting” that the anecdotes he had prepared for Dave were all lies. And then he insisted that Dave ask him about them anyway. And then Brooks told them, even though we, the audience, knew they weren’t true. And you know what? The whole thing was pain-in-the-side hilarious. See if you agree: Check out the two clips, below.
3) Missing “Picker”: For the last two weeks or so, we’ve wondered about the whereabouts of Frank Fritz, the “picker” of collectibles who travels the backroads of America with pal Mike Wolfe talking various rural folk into parting with some of their old stuff — for cash, of course. They’re the two stars of “American Pickers” on History Channel, but this week (and last), Mike was joined by his brother, Robert, while Frank was reported to be “under the weather,” and unable to join Mike for the week’s travels. Turns out Frank suffers from an ailment known as Chron’s disease, an intestinal condition that flares up occasionally. But as the episode seen this past week indicated, Frank’s just about ready to get back on the road.
4) Two guest-stars — one surprise: “Parks and Recreation” is one of those shows you could use to illustrate the point made above in Item 1, about how an A&E reality series like “Duck Dynasty” is able to garner twice the ratings as an NBC sitcom. This “Parks and Rec” episode drew 3.275 million Thursday night at 9:30/8:30c. Still, we happen to like “Parks and Rec” anyway, and this particular episode had Lucy Lawless as a guest-star — who’s always great to see — plus a surprise guest-star, Christie Brinkley, as the previously unseen, beautiful wife of Jerry Gergich (Jim O’Heir).
5) Who says the celebrity Christmas special is a thing of the past? Well, it wasn’t the nearly 9 million people (8.88 million to be exact) who watched country music star Blake Shelton headline his own prime-time Christmas special this past Tuesday night on NBC. Were you one of the 8.88 million? If not, it’s not too late to watch “Blake Shelton’s Not-So-Family Christmas.”