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Duck Dynasty Ratings: Did Viewers Flock to the Season 5 Premiere Following the Controversy?

Duck Dynasty, Season 5 A&E Networks

The Robertsons clan returned with new episodes of Duck Dynasty—the first since Phil Robertson's controversial statements and subsequent suspension by A&E—but did viewers return to the flock? Well, some of them did.

The Duck Dynasty season five premiere had 8.5 million viewers, great for most shows on TV today, especially a cable show. However, its fourth season debut in August had 11.8 million viewers, according to Entertainment Weekly. That's a loss of 28 percent. In terms of viewers in the key 18-49 demographic, the season premiere of Duck Dynasty had more than 4 million.

WATCH: Phil Robertson quibbles with A&E's editing

In an interview with GQ, Phil Robertson equated homosexuality to bestiality and also made choice statements about civil rights.

"Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men," Robertson told GQ in the December story. Paraphrasing Corinthians, he said, "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."

Following his statements, A&E suspended the reality star, but quickly lifted it shortly after Christmas amidst fan protest and talk that the family would walk away from the popular reality show.

PHOTOS: Duck Dynasty cast without their beards

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