NEW YORK — Nielsen says “Duck Dynasty” drew 8.5 million viewers for its fifth-season premiere.
While a sizable audience for a cable network reality series, it was down 28 percent from its record-setting fourth season opener in August of almost 12 million viewers.
Set in Louisiana bayou country, “Duck Dynasty” follows a family that manufactures duck calls and loves to go bird hunting.
Wednesday’s airing gave viewers their first fresh look at the series since it got caught up in an uproar.
Phil Robertson, the family patriarch, was briefly suspended by A&E after GQ magazine quoted him saying that the Bible views gays as sinners akin to adulterers, prostitutes and swindlers, and that African-Americans were happy under Jim Crow laws.
Supporters of Robertson’s right to voice his opinions flocked to his defense before the network reinstated him.