Duck Dynasty Takes a Ratings Dive

A&E’s hit reality TV show was ensnared in controversy after its star’s controversial comments about gays and African-Americans

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A record-setting reality show appears to be paddling in the wrong direction as its fifth season gets underway.

Citing data from Nielsen, Variety reports that just 6.65 million viewers watched Wednesday night’s episode of Duck Dynasty on A&E. That’s down from the 8.5 million who tuned into last week’s season premiere. The ratings are the lowest for an original episode of the show since December 2012.

Duck was ensnared in controversy late last year when star Phil Robertson made derogatory remarks about gays and African Americans. The show focuses on a family that made a fortune on duck-hunting accessories.

Its fourth-season premiere was the most-watched cable reality TV episode in history, attracting 11.77 million viewers. Last year, it was the second most watched cable TV program overall, after AMC’s Walking Dead.