By Natalie Hanniman
Turns out, not all publicity is good publicity.
Duck Dynasty premiered its fifth season to a much smaller U.S. audience Wednesday night.
The popular A&E show saw a thirty per cent drop in viewers from last season’s premiere, down from twelve million to just 8.5, according to Variety.
The drop comes after star Phil Robertson’s anti-gay remarks to GQ magazine in December.
In the article Robertson gave his opinion on homosexuality, linking it to bestiality.
“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman..,” Robertson told GQ.
The comments led to the reality star being suspended, a hiatus that didn’t even last two weeks.
People took to twitter to express their thoughts on the return of Duck Dynasty Wednesday night.
— Shelly (@rochshelly) January 17, 2014
In good news – #duckdynasty‘s ratings are down. Suck it, Phil Robertson.
— August Murphy-King (@august_mk) January 17, 2014
But Toronto Star TV critic Rob Salem said the lower numbers shock him.
“I am surprised it hasn’t improved Duck Dynasty’s ratings, given the controversy. People are interested to see what he’s going to say next.”
Ratings were especially low in the 18-49 demographic, showing lack of support among young people.
“The bulk of the viewership really doesn’t care, in fact they find comments like that colourful. Those viewers won’t care one way or another, or won’t even know,” said Salem.
Although ratings are low now, Salem said he thinks ratings will go up as people forget about the controversy.
“Another reality story will emerge and take its place,” said Salem. “They have limited shelf life.”