After suffering ratings drops on the A&E network, executives decided to reverse their decision to indefinitely suspend Phil Robertson from the highest rated program in cable television history.
Details of Phil Robertson’s return to filming in the coming month are forthcoming.
FoxNews.com is now reporting:
The A&E Network announced Friday it would resume filming “Duck Dynasty” with Phil Robertson and the rest of his family next spring.
Robertson had been indefinitely suspended by the network on Dec. 18 for comments he made about homosexuality in an interview with GQ Magazine.
The removal of the 67-year-old family patriarch triggered support from gay rights organizations but objections from many fans of the show, including such political figures as former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
There was no immediate response from the Robertson family to A&E’s announcement.
The fifth season of the family series originally had been scheduled to start Jan. 15 but until Friday’s announcement,its future had been uncertain.
In a statement released late Friday afternoon, A&E said, “While Phil’s comments made in the (GQ) interview reflect his personal views based on his own beliefs, and his own personal journey, he 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. He also made it clear he would ‘never incite or encourage hate.’”
The network added that “Duck Dynasty is not a show about one man’s views. It resonates with a large audience because it is a show about family, a family that America has come to love. As you might have seen in many episodes, they come together to reflect and pray for unity, tolerance and forgiveness. These are three values that we at A&E Networks also feel strongly about.
“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.”
“Duck Dynasty” is the top-rated reality program on cable, according to the Hollywood Reporter, with an average 13.4 million viewers and a marketing franchise in such outlets as Walmart, Sears and Cracker Barrel restaurants – which briefly removed the “Dynasty” items after Robertson’s suspension.