'Duck Dynasty' Calls It Quits; Final Episode To Air In April

Nov 18, 2016
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"Duck Dynasty" will end in April after 11 seasons. It was part of a genre of unscripted TV shows based on rural, working-class Southern culture. NPR TV critic Eric Deggans says the show's decline may mark a turning point.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "DUCK DYNASTY")

SI ROBERTSON: We've got a unbelievable announcement for y'all.

ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: That's how fans of "Duck Dynasty" found out after Wednesday's season premiere that the Robertson family had decided, along with cable channel A&E, to stop making the series when the current season ends.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "DUCK DYNASTY")

JASE ROBERTSON: After five years, we've decided - everybody's laughing now - we've decided as a family for this to be the final chapter of the "Duck Dynasty" series.

DEGGANS: The show debuted in 2012, focused on a religious family with working-class, rural roots made wealthy through a successful duck call manufacturing business. It was a pop culture phenomenon for a time, drawing more than 11 million viewers in its fourth season premiere to become the most-watched non-fiction cable series in history. But viewership dropped after patriarch Phil Robertson made controversial remarks about gay people and black people in a magazine interview and was briefly suspended from the show. Unscripted shows often lose steam as the novelty of the series wears off, production costs rise, and the show's stars pursue other opportunities. But Duck Dynasty is one of the last huge, unscripted hits to lampoon white working-class Southern culture, a style some critics call hicksploitation TV. Perhaps the end of "Duck Dynasty" is also a sign that kind of programming is on the wane as well. I'm Eric Deggans. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.