"Duck Dynasty" Season 5 premiere ratings may not have matched its massive record-setting Season 4 premiere, but the show has retained all its major advertisers despite the patriarch Phil Robertson's remarks on homosexuality in the current issue of GQ magazine.
Home Depot, Geico, Darden Restaurants, Subway, Hershey and AT&T, which were frequent advertisers in the series, were back with national or local ads in the Season 5 premiere Wednesday night, AdAge.com noted.
When the news portal contacted the advertisers for comments, they declined to respond. "While recent 'Duck Dynasty' advertisers were comfortable returning to the show, they aren't eager to give the controversy any more oxygen," it concluded.
Ads of Walmart, ExxonMobil, Allstate and Universal Studios, promoting the Kevin Hart and Ice Cube movie "Ride Along," also appeared during Wednesday's premiere.
With 8.5 million viewers tuning into the premiere, "Duck Dynasty" almost matched last February's Season 3 numbers, where 8.6 million tuned in, and the October Season 4 finale figures of 8.4 million.
However, the numbers were down from the Season 4 premiere's record breaking 11.8 million viewers, which made the reality television show the most-watched non-fiction series telecast in cable history.
A&E Network, the home for "Duck Dynasty," announced Dec. 18 that the show's hero Robertson had been put on indefinite suspension for his comments that homosexuality is a sin.
The network reversed its decision nine days later. "So after discussions with the Robertson family, as well as consulting with numerous advocacy groups, A&E has decided to resume filming Duck Dynasty later this spring with the entire Robertson family," the cable network stated Dec. 27.
A&E said Robertson's comments reflect "his personal views based on his own beliefs, and his own personal journey." Robertson and his family "have publicly stated they regret the 'coarse language' he used and the misinterpretation of his core beliefs based only on the article," the network added. "He also made it clear he would 'never incite or encourage hate.'"
The Robertson family also issued a statement, saying they were "excited to keep making a quality TV show for our dedicated fans, who have showed us wonderful support… We will continue to represent our faith and values in the most positive way through 'Duck Dynasty' and our many projects that we are currently working on."
In the GQ interview, Robertson said that homosexuality is a sin along with other sexual sins. He commented that "bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men. 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."
Robertson also said, in an explicit language, "It seems to me, a vagina – as a man – would be more desirable than a man's anus. That's just me. I'm just thinking, 'There's more there! She's got more to offer.' I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I'm saying? But hey, sin: It's not logical, my man. It's just not logical," he added.