Duck Dynasty returned for its fifth season Wednesday night to 8.5 million viewers, down 28% from last year's record opener, which was the top non-fiction telecast in cable history.
The one-hour episode, the first since Phil Robertson's controversial GQ interview, averaged slightly higher than the 8.4 million who tuned into last year's finale. Duck Dynasty also dipped 33% with adults 18 to 49 to 4.2 million and 35% among the 25-to-54 crowd to 4.1 million.
The fifth-season premiere marked the first time that Duck Dynasty suffered a year-over-year for a season debut. Given the controversy and publicity stemming from Robertson's remarks, some expected the return to bring in curiousity seekers to the A&E series.