The “Duck” family Robertson of A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” ends their third season this week with a trip to Hawaii.
And if this vacation — which is the central feature of the show’s one-hour season finale airing Wednesday night (April 24) at 10/9c on A&E — was meant to be celebratory, then this family has earned it.
Somewhere between the family dinners, brotherly hunting trips and the sage, sarcastic observations of Uncle Si seen each week on this reality show styled as a family sitcom, “Duck Dynasty” became the talk of the TV industry.
Why? One word: Ratings. Beginning some time last year, possibly with the show’s high-rated Christmas special in December, this reality series about a Louisiana family who became millionaires from manufacturing duck calls suddenly took off like a rocket. And now, for the season ending Wednesday night, this cable reality series is averaging an astonishing 8.2 million viewers per episode, according to A&E.
It’s a practically unheard-of viewership tally for a reality series, or any series, on cable TV. And it likely has programming execs at other networks reacting with wonder and envy.
That’s probably particularly true at the broadcast networks — CBS, Fox, ABC and NBC — because “Duck Dynasty” does better in the ratings than three-quarters of the shows on those four networks.
A look at the latest Nielsen rankings for last week’s prime-time network shows (April 15-21) — released just today (Tuesday) — tells the story. With 8.2 million viewers, “Duck Dynasty” would have been ranked 21st last week out of 88 network shows if it was on one of those networks.
Or, to put it another way, viewership of 8.2 million would place “Duck Dynasty” just above “Golden Boy” on CBS (8.073 million) and just below “Person of Interest,” also on CBS (8.632 million). For the record, the top show in network television last week was last Monday’s episode of “The Voice” on NBC (14.448 million).
It’s also likely that “Duck Dynasty” is making a dent in its network competitors in the 10-11 p.m. (9-10c) time period on Wednesday nights. Going back to Wednesday, April 3 — the last Wednesday night when CBS, NBC and ABC all had shows with new episodes in the time period, the ratings reveal “Duck Dynasty’s” average would have beaten “Chicago Fire” on NBC (6.37 million) and “Nashville” on ABC (5.54 million). However, “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” on CBS would have won. That show drew 9.89 million viewers on that evening.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday’s Hawaii finale of “Duck Dynasty” — titled “Aloha, Robertsons!” — the entire family of brothers, fathers, uncles, aunts, wives, mothers and assorted children travels from Louisiana to the Aloha state for sun, surfing and Segways (the latter referring to a jungle tour some of the men will take on the two-wheeled vehicles).
“Aloha, Robertsons!” airs Wednesday night (April 24) at 10/9c on A&E.