(Photo: Courtesy of A&E and Howard Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster)
The A&E television network has reportedly planned a whopping 25-episode marathon of the hit reality show "Duck Dynasty" for Christmas Day, in spite of the recent controversy surrounding the show's patriarch, Phil Robertson, and comments he made last week describing homosexuality as a sin.
The mega "Duck Dynasty" marathon will begin at 3:30 p.m. Christmas Day and carry on until the early hours of Dec. 26, eventually ending at 4 a.m. to make way for paid programming. The re-runs will feature plenty of episodes that include Phil, as they were all filmed and aired before his remarks were published by GQ Magazine.
An A&E source reportedly told Entertainment Weekly that the network booked their top show's mega-marathon weeks before the controversy involving Robertson erupted last week. Additionally, Cate Meighan, senior writer for Celeb Dirty Laundry, told Fox News that ultimately A&E will give its viewers what they want to watch, regardless of what controversy surrounds the characters in a show. "Duck Dynasty" has garnered major ratings for the A&E network since it first premiered in 2012, and in September it was named cable's most watched nonfiction telecast.
"It is really a money thing," Meighan explained. "You're going to have the same people tuning into 'Duck Dynasty' that always have and the same people not watching that always have."
"Unfortunately people are secondary," she said. "At the end of every single thing that we see it's about the money and the advertising."
AdAge has also reported that in spite of the Robertson controversy, "Duck Dynasty" merchandise is still expected to be flying off the shelves, as many companies that sell the merchandise, including Walmart and Target, have remained silent in response to the controversy. The restaurant chain Cracker Barrel temporarily pulled some "Duck Dynasty" merchandise from some stores, only to replace it after receiving a rash of angry comments from consumers on its Facebook page.
"You told us we made a mistake. And, you weren't shy about it. You wrote, you called and you took to social media to express your thoughts and feelings. You flat out told us we were wrong," the company said in a statement on its Facebook page. "We listened. Today, we are putting all our Duck Dynasty products back in our stores. And, we apologize for offending you."
Last week, Phil Robertson came under fire when he told GQ Magazine's Drew Magary that he found homosexuality to be a sin, just as bestiality, adultery, idolatry, greediness, and excessive drinking are sins. Robertson was quick to add that although he believes in the teachings of the Bible, he does not condone hatred or judgment toward anyone, and rather believes in the importance of God's love.
Since his comments were published online, the A&E network announced it would be indefinitely suspending Robertson from his reality show, which follows the Robertson family and their duck call business in West Monroe, La. This suspension has caused a massive amount of public outcry from Christian leaders, political leaders and celebrities, and the Robertson family released a statement last week saying they were standing behind Phil and his comments.