Duck Dynasty shattered A&E network records last year with their Christmas finale, bringing in 6.5 million viewers to watch the Robertson family decorate their home with holiday trappings, good cheer, and of course, ducks. The show’s meteoric rise is still going strong with a hit season finale that aired on Wednesday. According to Entertainment Weekly, Duck Dynasty captured the attention of 9.6 million viewers for the last episode of its third season, easily beating contenders like Fox’s American Idol–which garnered 3.3 million viewers Wednesday.
Duck Dynasty’s success lies in its simple formula. At heart a show about a Louisiana bayou family, the series follows the earnest values and traditions of the Robertson clan. Coming to prominence under patriarch Phil Robertson and his son, Duck Commander CEO Willie, the “dynasty” in the show’s title refers to expansive business empire that grew out of a small family shed. The Robertsons have been in the business of making duck calls since 1973 and only recently ventured into television.
Duck Dynasty became an unexpected hit in its first season and by the show’s second year had already secured a dominating hold among the adult 18-49 age range. Its third season finale cemented its reign as cable television’s strongest performing reality show, and remains the most-watched original series behind AMC’s The Walking Dead.
The finale’s Hawaiian adventure was a departure from the show’s usual environment. Fans were treated to the Robertson boys suited up in floral shirts and getting a tan. Willie also faced a major hiccup when his luggage mysteriously went missing, but Uncle Si is on the case when he is offered $500 to play detective. In the meantime, Willie gets his feet wet with a little surfing.
“Season 3 was fun guys,” Willie wrote on his Twitter account. “Thanks for watching! Good to be home. Stay tuned.”
If you haven’t seen it, you can view the episode in its entirety here on A&E for a limited time only, or watch the recap below:
For a glimpse of the Robertsons before Duck Dynasty, check out Outdoor Hub’s Duck Commander playlist: