On the eve of their fourth-season premiere comes news that the business-savvy stars of “Duck Dynasty” have successfully negotiated for big raises and additional seasons of their phenomenal hit series.
According to Deadline.com, the Robertson clan dug in their heels over a protracted negotiation period with A&E and Gurney Productions, the company that produces the series which is one of the highest-rated regular series on cable TV (if not the highest).
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In the end, the Robertsons got what they were asking for, according to Deadline — another sign that these hirsute Louisianans are nobody’s fool.
The story says the family won salaries that are “4-5 times” what they’ve been earning up to now. Under their newly negotiated deals, the family will earn $200,000 per episode of “Duck Dynasty,” to be divided among 19 people — nine adults and 11 children.
In addition, the new deal calls for an unspecified number of additional seasons and various “options” for key cast members. Though the options are not specified either, such options usually include opportunities for additional raises for key cast members, depending on how many seasons the show eventually has.
The Deadline story says the negotiations delayed the start of production on Season Four, which nevertheless gets under way Wednesday night — Aug. 14 — at 10/9c on A&E.
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Our take: The Robertsons had considerable leverage here and they likely knew it. “Duck Dynasty” drew an average of 8.5 million viewers per episode in its third season, which ended last April — making it the year’s biggest surprise and a cash cow for A&E.
The Robertsons, hard-nosed but fun-loving businesspeople who made millions manufacturing duck calls and other hunting accessories, must have figured correctly that the ratings their show was drawing would give them the leverage to ask for substantial raises.
Moreover, they’re already fabulously wealthy — which means they would still have been sitting pretty even if A&E decided to shut down the show completely (which was not likely to happen). No matter what happened, the Robertsons stood to win — and they did.