Nearly 10 million people watched the “Duck Dynasty” gang fly to Hawaii for some much-needed R&R Wednesday night, shattering A&E’s ratings record.
It was the show’s third-season finale.
To put that in perspective:
●The most-watched episode in “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” history, a Halloween special, snared an average of 3.1 million viewers.
●The much-ballyhooed third-season finale of PBS’s “Downton Abbey” averaged 8.2 million viewers in February, and is that show’s most successful season wrap-up to date, exceeding the Season 2 finisher by nearly 3 million viewers.
●History’s “The Bible” miniseries finale averaged 11.7 million viewers.
●HBO’s “Girls” second-season finale last March averaged 632,000 viewers.
●The most-watched episode ever of TLC’s “Jon & Kate Plus 8” — the one in which Jon & Kate announced they were kaput — clocked 10.6 million viewers.
Until “Duck Dynasty” hit town, the most-popular A&E series was “Storage Wars,” which hit its peak in late November 2011 when an episode snagged an average of 5.6 million.
“Duck Dynasty’s third-season swan-song also was a hit among 18-to-49-year-olds, who are the currency of A&E ad sales.
In that age bracket, Wednesday’s episode also broke A&E records, averaging 5.6 million.
That same night, Fox’s “American Idol” attracted 4.13 million 18-to-49-year-olds.
The Fox singing competition was the most-watched program overall on Wednesday night, thanks largely to its commanding lead among viewers 50 and older and women 25 to 54.
“Duck Dynasty” won in every other key measure that advertisers look at, including adults 18 to 34 years old, the unicorns of Madison Avenue.
In that age group, “Duck Dynasty” beat “American Idol” by a whopping 70 percent.
For the “Duck Dynasty” non-literate: The show has been described as a backwoods “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” only with a more interesting, forest-dwelling family.
The male members of the Robertson clan all have faces that look like great-grandma’s burst horsehair sofa. The female members look like auditioners for a new edition of “Real Housewives.” The Robertson clan got rich selling duck-hunting supplies via their Duck Commander company.
Unlike most reality series about families (see aforementioned “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” and “Jon & Kate Plus 8”), “Duck Dynasty” is refreshingly insult-hurling, furniture-overturning, temper-tantrum-throwing free. The family even eats dinner together.
Sadly, fame seems to have gone to the Robertsons’ heads and they have demanded more than $200,000 per episode to return for a fourth season, according to the Hollywood Reporter. A&E assured reporters on Thursday that production will begin “shortly” on that fourth season, which is slated to premiere later this year.
To read previous columns by Lisa de Moraes, go to washingtonpost.com/tvblog.