All hail “Duck Dynasty”!
The season finale of this reality mega-hit drew an incredible 9.6 million viewers Wednesday night on A&E, beating everything else on TV in its time period and soaring past its own previous highs in the Nielsen ratings.
The viewer tally represented a significant increase from the show’s average of 8.2 million viewers per episode this season — which was already higher than the audiences for three-quarters of all the prime-time shows on the big broadcast networks.
The numbers, released Thursday, had A&E quacking with delight, while the rest of the TV industry continued to look on with envy at this reality series about a family of bearded Louisianans who became millionaires by manufacturing duck calls. The one-hour finale that ended the show’s high-rated third season Wednesday night had the sprawling Robertson family traveling to Hawaii for a fun-filled vacation in the Aloha state.
The show was easily the highest-rated show on cable, but it also handily beat its time-slot competition on the broadcast networks at 10-11 p.m./9-10c — repeats of “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” (7.595 million, CBS), “Chicago Fire” (4.068 million, NBC) and “Nashville” (3.034 million, ABC). Yes, they were all repeats, but “Duck Dynasty” had been regularly beating original episodes of “Nashville” and “Chicago Fire” all season anyway.
The episode of “Duck Dynasty” was the highest-rated single episode of a regular series in the history of A&E — not just in the total-viewer tally of 9.6 million but in all the key demos advertisers (and all the other networks) crave, A&E said.
Everyone is talking about “Duck Dynasty.” The show even racked up the most social-media activity for any TV show anywhere all evening on Wednesday — more than such social-media heavyweights as “American Idol” and “Survivor,” A&E pointed out, citing data from various credible sources that measure social media.
“Duck Dynasty” is the highest-rated reality show on cable TV. In fact, only one show in all of cable — scripted or unscripted — does better: “The Walking Dead” on AMC.