- (Photo: Courtesy of A&E and Howard Books, an Imprint of Simon and Schuster)
The confidently Christian clan that makes up the cast of A&E's "Duck Dynasty" shared how they came into reality television success in an interview with Katie Couric that aired Monday.
The bearded men of the Robertson family, who together help run a multi-million dollar duck-call-making business out of West Monroe, La., walked onto the set of ABC's "Katie" wearing their usual ensembles of camouflage and casual clothing.
Willie, the president of Duck Commander, shared during the interview that his father, Phil, came up with the idea to start filming themselves several years ago. They rented some cameras, and, with the help of some people who ran the sound equipment at their church, they shot some of their own videos that became popular nationwide.
They later made their way onto the Outdoor Channel.
"I wasn't sure if we could even make it, looking like we do," said Willie. "We were a little rough around the edges."
But their time on the station was successful, and a producer in Los Angeles contacted them to discuss the possibility of working together.
"A&E came out of nowhere and wanted two pilots," said Willie. "I don't know if they knew…how funny it would be. I think, when looking at us, we don't look like comedians, but it turned out so funny and real family oriented and they had a hit."
The "Duck Dynasty" season three finale was watched by nearly 10 million people nationwide, making it the most-watched series telecast ever for A&E among all key demographics, according to a press release from the network. The show was also the second most-watched cable series last year only behind AMC's "The Walking Dead."
Phil says the family has primarily focused their philanthropic efforts on supporting the church, though they have helped with a variety of other causes as well. In the upcoming season the cast will be joined by Alan, the eldest Robertson son, who recently announced his decision to leave his post as a pastor to manage speaking tours and public relations for the family.
Alan told Couric he left the family business in 1988 to enter the ministry, but says returning to Duck Commander now will give him an opportunity to minister to people around the world. The clean-shaven minister also took the opportunity to joke about his family's hygiene.
"I've sort of been the outcast, no doubt about it, in the family because I bathe regularly. I wear deodorant…I shave. So they kind of kept me in the back, and so I finally forced my way out," he said.
Alan's wife, Lisa, said she is nervous but excited about being on the show.
"You know whenever they film, they all film together, and the whole family is together. And to us that's what's important. That's one of the reasons why we came back to the family business is because we wanted to spend time with our family," said Lisa.
In the one-hour season premiere of "Duck Dynasty," Uncle Si is enlisted to distract Phil and his wife, Kay, while their sons, Willie, Jase and Jep, prepare a surprise vow renewal ceremony for their 49th anniversary. The episode will air on Wednesday, Aug. 14 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.