January 15, 2014 10:07am PT by THR Staff
'Duck Dynasty' Returns: 4 Things to Look For
Duck Dynasty returns for its fifth season Wednesday night following a month of controversy surrounding star Phil Robertson's anti-gay remarks.
Among other comments, he told the publication: "It seems like, to me, a vagina -- as a man -- would be more desirable than a man's anus. That's just me. I'm just thinking: There's more there! She's got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I'm saying? But hey, sin: It's not logical, my man. It's just not logical."
A&E suspended the patriarch for nine days.
Here are four things to look for before and after the premiere:
The episode was shot before his controversial remarks to GQ magazine were brought to light, so Robertson will appear in the show, and viewers won't see the controversy itself playing out. There also are no plans to address the controversy before or after the episode.
Ratings for reruns over the holidays were big, and some media experts believe the controversy could continue to boost ratings, at least temporarily. "Staying in the press tends to extend the shelf life of reality series," says Sam Armando, senior vp and director of strategic intelligence at media-buying firm SMGx, recently told The Hollywood Reporter. "I'm not convinced it's going to miss a beat at all, and few will be surprised if the ratings come back higher."
Groups ranging from GLAAD to PETA condemned Robertson's remarks, while individuals like Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin argued for his right to free speech. Among people at home, reaction also was split. Many supported A&E's decision, while a petition demanding that Phil be reinstated on the show drew more than 265,000 signatures. Reaction to the show's return is likely to be passionate -- from both sides -- on social media.
The Robertson clan has build a large audience who tune in to see what antics they'll get into next. For Halloween, Uncle Si dressed up as a beaver and danced to "Thriller." In another episode, Willie and Si get handcuffed together, forcing them to figure out how to drive and go to the bathroom, among other things. Season five will likely be no different.