In a 30-second clip released by A&E, the Robertson family collectively announced the 11th season of Duck Dynasty as its last one, with family patriarch Phil Robertson closing off with his signature “May God bless each and every one of you.”
The decision to end the reality TV series, which premiered on A&E in March of 2012 and paved a new direction for the genre, was taken by the Louisiana-based family, according to A&E.
As hinted in the sign-off video, the cable network confirmed there are plans to continue the franchise through a series of specials around major holidays.
Duck Dynasty launched into the reality TV space bringing viewers into the Louisiana world of two brothers – Phil and Si Robertson – and Phil’s family, their duck-hunting business popularized primarily by a special duck-hunting whistle and their proud and unusually open expression of their Christian faith. The show also brought the culture of the Bible Belt to mainstream TV.
Duck Dynasty proved to be a ratings monster for A&E, with its fourth-season premiere bringing in 11.8 million viewers, and despite a ratings decline (season 10 averaged 1.3 million total viewers over 14 episodes), it remains one of A&E’s most popular shows.
The show’s popularity was somewhat impacted by controversial comments about race and homosexuality made by Phil Robertson in 2013.
In the December issue of GQ that year, Robertson made anti-gay comments that sparked public outrage across the nation.
While A&E suspended Robertson for his comments, supporters of the show were enraged and demanded that he be brought back; A&E overturned his suspension after nine days.
The announcement about the show’s closure coincided with the premiere of season 11 on Wednesday evening (Nov. 16).
The final season is being split into two halves. The first half will run until Jan. 18, with the show resuming after a break on March 1. The series finale will air on April 12.
A&E has previously spun the series off into two accompanying series in Jep & Jessica: Growing the Dynasty, following younger members of the family as they adopt a newborn baby and grow their family, and Going Si-Ral, in which cast member Si discovers YouTube.