“Duck Dynasty,” the homespun reality show that occasionally courted controversy, will end after this season, the Robertson family together said in a video announcement. The show, which launched in 2012, remains A&E’s ratings champ, Deadline notes.
PAST COVERAGE: Willie Robertson endorsed Donald Trump in January 2015
“We’ve got an unbelievable announcement for y’all,” Uncle Si, carrying his blue cup as always, began.
“This will be our final season,” his nephew Jace continued.
In keeping with the show’s sometimes kooky timing, a phone rings mid-video.
“That really threw me off,” Jace deadpanned.
“This is going to be the best season yet,” concluded Korie Robertson, wife of Duck Commander CEO Willie Robertson.
The family may appear in future specials.
In late 2013, family patriarch Phil Robertson was briefly suspended from the hit A&E show after comments he made to GQ magazine:
“We’re Bible-thumpers who just happened to end up on television,” he said in the article. “You put in your article that the Robertson family really believes strongly that if the human race loved each other and they loved God, we would just be better off. We ought to just be repentant, turn to God, and let’s get on with it, and everything will turn around.”
The remarks he made next have drawn the ire of various advocacy groups:
“Then he paraphrases Corinthians: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”
Rev. Jesse Jackson got involved during the saga, demanding a meeting with A&E network executives and officials with Cracker Barrel, which sold “Duck Dynasty” merchandise.
In a statement, Jackson called Robertson’s comments more offensive than those issued by a bus driver to Civil Rights Era heroine Rosa Parks.
“At least the bus driver, who ordered Rosa Parks to surrender her seat to a white person, was following state law,” Jackson said in a statement at the time. “Robertson’s statements were uttered freely and openly without cover of the law, within a context of what he seemed to believe was ‘white privilege.'”
The controversy didn’t keep Robertson off the air long, and Cracker Barrel swiftly returned “Duck Dynasty” merchandise to its shelves after temporarily yanking them. It’s not clear if the meeting with Jackson happened.
Here’s the message the restaurant chain posted at the time:
About the time all this was happening, family member Jep Robertson made an Atlanta appearance, serving in an honorary capacity at a “Duck Dash” charity road race. He didn’t say much about the controversy (or anything else) but did thank fans for their support.
“We’ve had kind of a crazy week back home,” he said as the event, held at Turner Field, was wrapping up. “We’ve gotten a lot of support. We really appreciate it.”