2 comments on “Ducking America

  1. As they say in showbiz, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity”. I went back and checked the Nielsens for this show. It was popular, but only “cable” popular, averaging 4-5 million viewers per show. By comparison, the #10 network show gets 7-8 million on a regular basis. However, the re-runs marathon, shown since the “controversy”, has been getting many more viewers than before.

    Season 4 finished shooting just before this story broke. Performers re-negotiate contracts at the end of shooting blocks. Maybe the Robertsons were demanding a big raise and too many perks, and A&E decided they were too much trouble for the numbers. It happens. Now A&E has a show with an upswing in viewers (probably unsustainable for long), a dozen episodes in post, and they don’t have to deal with any troublesome performers. For all we know A&E called GLAAD and gave them the GQ interview, asking for a response.

    I’ve heard some talk about other channels wanting them, but most people don’t understand that the Robertsons don’t own the title, the editing style, the music cues etc. Nobody else could get the show without paying A&E huge licensing fees. It would have to be re-vamped completely (expensive), or A&E could tie it up in court for years, while the public moves on to the next flavor of the month.

    I guess I’m trying to explain that there’s a background dynamic to the rise and fall of TV shows, and viewers usually never know about it. All the talk about free speech is nonsense. It’s a TV show that the performers don’t own. They all signed contracts with tons of “behave yourself” clauses. You should see the stuff they put in those! Basically, anything you do that the sponsor or channel decide to find embarrassing is a firing offense. I worked in post-production in Hollywood for 20 years.

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  2. To purport that A&E didn’t know what they were getting into when they inked the deal for Duck Dynasty is just plain wrong. They clearly understood that there is a large swath of America that lives in the suburbs and wants to get back to the family-oriented lives that they believe the founders of the country led. A&E knew the Robertsons aren’t dumb.

    As for any relation to the Constitution, this situation has none. As Invisible Mikey mentioned, all involved parties certainly signed contracts that told them they are representatives of A&E, and that any statements they make in public can be considered to be statements made on behalf of A&E.

    I also question whether this whole ordeal wasn’t a publicity move on behalf of A&E to attract more attention to the show. Sure it was popular before — but now it’s a national conversation.

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