The stars of A&E’s smash-hit series “Duck Dynasty” are demanding a higher salary, potentially halting production on the show’s upcoming fourth season.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the heavily bearded Robertsons want a major raise to return for a fourth season of their wildly popular A&E series. Sources are saying the haggling between network executives and the Robertsons has been a major roadblock in the anticipated renewal of the series.
Led by family patriarch Phil and his son Willie, the Robertsons have turned a business that began in a decrepit shed 25 years ago into the “Duck Commander” outdoorsmen empire. The company, which manufactures duck calls and other hunting paraphernalia, serves as the driving force behind the television series.
Now, the family is hoping to turn their massive ratings success into a big payday. According to sources close to the negotiation, the Robertsons are asking for a new contract that would grant them in excess of $200,000 per episode, per person, the Hollywood Reporter reports.
If the family gets their way, the money won’t stop there. Besides the salary increase for season four, the Robertsons are asking the A&E and production company Gurney Productions for supplementary raises for each ensuing season.
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While the “Duck Dynasty’s” salary demands may seem excessive, the networks ratings certainly support their case. An incredible 8.6 million people tuned in to the show’s season three finale in February, good for a 3.9 rating among the all-important 18-to-48 age bracket. In addition, THR notes that “Duck Dynasty’s” ratings were second only to AMC’s zombie series “The Walking Dead” among cable networks, and were higher than the ratings of any other show in the 10 p.m. Wednesday time slot.
“Duck Dynasty” is hardly the first reality show to be struck by a salary dispute. In 2010, the infamous cast of MTV’s “Jersey Shore” series requested a 200 percent salary increase for the show’s third season, causing a delay in production. Additionally, the cast of Discovery’s “Deadliest Catch” briefly quit over a 2010 salary dispute, only to backtrack when a settlement was reached, THR reports.
So far, A&E has been unwilling to address the brewing monetary disagreement. However, a source told THR that “Duck Dynasty” does not yield the profits that similar reality shows on networks such as Bravo might produce. For example, A&E doesn’t have a stake in the “Duck Commander” business or the cast’s public appearance fees.
Still, fans of the camouflaged reality stars shouldn’t panic just yet. THR reports that a source close to the negotiations claims that “it’ll all get worked out.”