“Duck Dynasty’s” esteemed patriarch may soon be ready to hang up his hunting whistle for good. In a new interview with Parade magazine, Duck Commander founder Phil Robertson hints that he’ll likely leave the A&E hit reality show in the not-too-distant future.
Asked how much longer he plans to be involved, the bearded, camo-wearing duck hunter replies, “Not long.” But that doesn’t mean the series will end. “I think it’ll go on without me,” he muses.
There’s certainly a big enough audience for it. Since its premiere in the spring of 2012, Duck Dynasty has accumulated millions of fans, many of whom flock to the Robertson family’s Duck Commander warehouse just to catch a glimpse of the stars.
“I told Missy, my wife, the only person I’d stand in line for is God Almighty,” Phil’s son Jase tells Parade. “‘You made the universe? All right, I’ll get in line!'”
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Jase appears on the show with his father, uncle Si, and brothers Willie and Jep, all of whom have long, full beards. But come August, when the fourth season premieres on A&E, there will be another (clean-shaven!) face on the show — Phil and wife Kay’s eldest son, Alan, who recently rejoined the business.
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Doing the show has brought the family “a whole lot closer,” Willie tells Parade. “It’s probably the opposite of most reality shows. And nobody gets a big head because we’re all doing it together.”
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In fact, fame doesn’t seem to have changed the group much at all. While some episodes feature situations suggested by producers, Jase insists they never do anything out of character. “They come up with ideas, but I get to be myself in those ideas,” he tells Parade.
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“One day when we were gonna play golf, a wardrobe person brought me a pair off knickers,” he recalls. “I guess they thought that would be funny. But I don’t wear knickers. They said, ‘A&E wants you to.’ I was like, ‘I don’t care!'”
Willie sensed the show could be good for business, but he had one hesitation: the name, Duck Dynasty. “I thought, ‘That sounds like a Chinese food place!'” he quips.