6:44pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Duck Dynasty' to End on A&E
The end is in sight for A&E's Duck Dynasty.
The network announced Wednesday night that after five years and 130 episodes, the unscripted series will come to an end. The current 11th season will be its last. This season runs through Jan. 18, with a small break, followed by the final seven episodes that will air from March 1 through April 12. A series of holiday specials are also likely to come later.
The series, which has faced its share of controversy during its run, ranked as the most-watched nonfiction series in cable history and, according to A&E, remains the No. 1 series on the network among total viewers.
The announcement was made Wednesday night during the season 11 premiere with a message from the Robertson family.
Despite early ratings success, the show was hurt by a series of controversial remarks from members of the Robertson family. Phil Robertson was briefly suspended from his show in 2013 during the fifth season following comments in which the then-67-year-old star likened homosexuality to "bestiality." The suspension prompted an immediate outcry from the show's conservative fan base, and he was welcomed back to the series shortly afterward.
For A&E, the imminent end of Duck Dynasty comes as the cabler is poised to wrap up its signature scripted series, Bates Motel, in 2017. That leaves the network without a breakout signature series beyond 60 Days In, the docuseries that ranked as cable's No. 1 new nonfiction show earlier this year. Next up on the unscripted side is Leah Rimini's Scientology series.