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Duck Dynasty returns for first episodes since scandal

Industry watchers expect the Phil Robertson scandal to actually boost ratings.

By Gabrielle Levy
Duck Dynasty returns for first episodes since scandal
Rebecca Robertson, second from left, with her adopted family, (L to R) Korie, Bella, Sadie and Willie Robertson. (Duck and Dressing)

For the first time since Phil Robertson's controversial comments about race and homosexuality put A&E in a tough spot, Duck Dynasty is back on the air.

Season 5, which was filmed before Robertson's interview in GQ was published, premieres Wednesday.

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So anyone looking for the show to directly address Robertson's comments, his subsequent suspension, media relations storm and A&E's eventual capitulation will need to wait until a potential sixth season. In other words, Wednesday's premiere should be business as usual for the Duck Commander clan.

But industry watchers expect the scandal to actually have a positive effect on the ratings, as watching the show is now as much a clarion call to conservatives as a plain old duck call for reality show fans.

And Chik-fil-A, which found itself in its own homosexuality-themed hot water in 2012, has been made the staging ground for "Chick-Phil-A Day," on January 21 to demonstrate support for Robertson and his beliefs.

While independent of both Chik-fil-A and Duck Dynasty, the day has gathered nearly 180,000 guests who have promised to wear their camouflage and eat at the fast food restaurant next Tuesday.

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Duck Dynasty returns at 10/9c on A&E for a double episode premiere, which will include the introduction of Rebecca Robertson, Willie Robertson's 24-year-old foster daughter.

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