News Briefs: This Duck Dynasty Thing Has Ripped the Country Asunder, and the Robertsons Might Quit Doing the Show

By Tim Surette

Dec 20, 2013


... As previously News Briefed, Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson has been suspended from the A&E reality series for anti-gay comments he made to GQ. Naturally, everyone is losing their poop over the network's decision. Conservative groups have called for A&E to let him remain on the show, citing free speech (because it favors their argument), and there's an online petition at that's collected almost 100,000 e-signatures supporting the bearded man who called homosexuality a sin. Meanwhile, the Robertson family has posted an official statement on their website, suggesting that they may be unwilling to continue doing the show without Phil:

We want to thank all of you for your prayers and support. The family has spent much time in prayer since learning of A&E’s decision. We want you to know that first and foremost we are a family rooted in our faith in God and our belief that the Bible is His word. While some of Phil’s unfiltered comments to the reporter were coarse, his beliefs are grounded in the teachings of the Bible. Phil is a Godly man who follows what the Bible says are the greatest commandments: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Phil would never incite or encourage hate. We are disappointed that Phil has been placed on hiatus for expressing his faith, which is his constitutionally protected right. We have had a successful working relationship with A&E but, as a family, we cannot imagine the show going forward without our patriarch at the helm. We are in discussions with A&E to see what that means for the future of Duck Dynasty. Again, thank you for your continued support of our family.

The scandal has ripped the nation in two, and all over a show about rednecks who make duck callers. This is exactly how the ducks planned it, people! Can't you see!?!? [Deadline Hollywood / Deadline Hollywood /]


... Playwright and cursing aficionado (and father of Girls' Zosiah and The Neighbors' Clara) David Mamet (Glengarry Glen Ross) is developing a limited-event series about the seven deadly sins for Fox. The seven-episode series would devote one installment to each sin; so let's see, that'd be gluttony, envy, lust, pride, greed, wrath, and not closing up potato chip bags tight enough and letting all my sour cream & onion Ruffles get stale. [Variety]

... ABC has ordered its 20 billionth pilot from Shonda Rhimes, a little ditty called How to Get Away With Murder. The pilot was penned by Scandal writer Peter Nowalk, and centers on some law-school students and their professor who get involved in a murder plot. [The Wrap]

... Katie Couric's talk show Katie has been canceled! But not for a while. She'll finish her second season and wrap things up next June. I hope she goes to work hungover and in pajama bottoms with an "I don't give a shit" attitude until then. [E! Online]

... Good news, people in favor of unequal gender equality! TLC's polygamy special about Brady Williams, his five wives, and 25 children has been picked up for a full series. The cable freakshow will run for nine hour-long episodes beginning March 9. [The Hollywood Reporter]


... Cybill Shepherd (Moonlighting, Cybill) will guest-star on ABC's new comedy Trophy Wife as... Kate's mom. She'll play Cricket, a fun and wild woman who bears a striking resemblance to pre-marriage Kate. Look for her in Episode 17. [E! Online]

... Emmy-winner Judy Davis (Husbands and Wives) has landed a recurring role on the 24: Live Another Day miniseries that Fox has scheduled for next year. She'll play a British national who's the widow of a terrorist. [Deadline Hollywood

... End of Watch's Michael Peña has joined Fox's Broadchurch remake Gracepoint. He'll play Mark Lasseter, the father of the boy whose murder is at the center of the series. [TV Line]

... Rhea Perlman (Cheers) is moving into the gated community of The Neighbors. Perlman will play the vey human mother of Debbie (Jamie Gertz). Look for her to appear in early 2014. Seriously, look for it. The Neighbors is much better than the awful pilot that everyone (including me!) panned. [TV Line]

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  • Acrobit Dec 23, 2013

    Updated news is that it seems like he's coming back in January. Maybe it should bother me, but he and his show are so far out of my demographic, that watching his show feels equivalent to picking a random city in the South, driving there...and being there. My brain shuts it all down at the thought of any of it.

    Watching Mad Men alone would be similar if the show wasn't a giant trolljob.

  • Acrobit Dec 23, 2013

    He could've run for public office, but maybe he's really too good and pure for all that. Am I kidding? I'm not sure.

  • Ryan26pdx Dec 23, 2013

    I'm gay and honestly I wasn't phased by his interview. I didn't even know the show existed before this week, and frankly I've dealt with harsher words from members of my own family. However given that he probably signed a contract, or contracts, regarding his publicity...I think this whole situation is less about free speech and more about the consequences of what you may sacrifice when signing a dotted line. A bit of research informed me that the Robertsons have been going at their business for longer than I've been alive, so I'm assuming they'll be fine if the whole show does ultimately tank.

  • Gislef Dec 28, 2013

    A&E; never argued that he was being suspended because of a contract violation. That would seem like the intelligent thing to do if that was the reason they were suspending/firing him. Why claim they were firing him for an illegal reason on their part (violation of the Civil Rights Act) when they had a legal basis to do so?

  • Ryan26pdx Dec 29, 2013

    Except A&E; also never claimed that they were outright firing him. I used the words "probably", "I think", and "may" for a reason, because I wasn't certain if there actually were solid contractual reasons for his suspension. A suspension that has now been rescinded. Ultimately I was baffled by the gay rage surrounding this guy. A few of my friends posted about him relentlessly even though they had never heard of him prior to the GQ interview.

  • shocker713 Dec 23, 2013

    The Robertsons were filthy stinking rich long before they ever had a show, and will be long after it's over. A&E; needs them more than vice versa.

  • firedrakes Dec 23, 2013

    A+E Networks, a joint venture between the Hearst Corporation and Disney–ABC Television Group (both of which maintain a 50% ownership interest)

  • layle1 Dec 22, 2013

    Here's my question: Justine Sacco of IAC was just fired for some really horrible comments, but half the country is not up in arms to defend her "free speech" rights and rail against liberals or conservatives in passionate terms of freedom of racism, nor are they boycotting all of IAC's shows until she's reinstated. How is one more important than the other? They're not, but some people think they are.

    In today's corporate world, free speech and religious freedom mean nothing, now that everyone boycotts anything they disagree with. It's all the bottom line. They'll never take a rights stand against their income.

  • julianwiley Dec 23, 2013

    Phil Robertson is famous; Justine Sacco is not -- that's why no one's rallying behind her. And the bottom line ALWAYS wins -- don't bother holding your breath, because it's not going to change anytime soon.

    Merry Christmas!!

  • Dalfiuss Dec 22, 2013

    I can't believe the news article doesn't touch on the incredibly racist remarks, just the anti-gay ones.

  • stanking Dec 22, 2013

    I define "racist" as saying or implying that one race is better than another. What did Phil Robertson say that was racist?

  • layle1 Dec 22, 2013

    I don't think they rise to racism, even in the loosest sense of the word, but A&E; had a responsibility to at least comment on his arrogance that he could walk in another culture's shoes accurately.

  • zzbeach Dec 22, 2013

    The reality is that the country hasn't been "torn asunder." How absurd. The media may have been torn asunder but not the country. If A&E; cancels the show, the 15 million viewers will follow the Robertsons to another cable network.

  • layle1 Dec 22, 2013

    CMT seems to be the home for these resurrections.

  • BradGoldman Dec 22, 2013

    Formally requesting that the ability to post comments be closed, for this article, as the comment system is being used for naught more than a gay/anti-gay, democrat/republican war of words.

  • sofaspud2 Dec 22, 2013

    Undue hype like this is what threatens unity; those of us who are not at one extreme or the other really do not care that much about what Robertson has to say or how A&E;, which used to actually air "Arts and Entertainment" programming reacts.

    It is not as if Robertson sets public policy (or is even qualified to make an influential comment on it) or that this basic cable networks has much of a public duty.

  • smithinjapan Dec 22, 2013

    If the family is having doubts about the decision, give them an ultimatum: keep going without pops or be fired. End of story. I know the show makes the company heaps of money, but you don't negotiate with families like this who try to hold something hostage, especially when it's over a complete bigot like Phil Robertson. Good on the network for firing him.

  • stanking Dec 22, 2013

    Just so you understand: A&E; needs the show. The Robertsons do not.

  • smithinjapan Dec 23, 2013

    Like I said, I know A&E; would lose money by losing the show, but they shouldn't spare their morals for the sake of the cash. They need to tell the Robertsons to get with it or get out, and stick to their guns, same way Phil is sticking to his LACK of morals.

  • stanking Dec 23, 2013

    If you're going to argue, do so intelligently. You may not agree with his beliefs, but you show yourself to be logic-blind when you say Phil Robertson has no morals. A&E; isn't known for morals; the Robertsons are. The popularity of DD is due as much to the moral integrity of the family as to the craziness of their Louisiana culture. And to clarify my statement above: the Robertsons don't need the money, but not because they're rich. It's because they'd rather have their family and their beliefs. Money is simply convenient.

  • smithinjapan Dec 24, 2013

    I respect their strong family bond (from what I've read) and their desire to stick together, but if them staying on the show means a bigot like Phil is welcomed back, let them go. And if those are their beliefs (towards homosexuality and other 'sinful' things), good riddance.

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