Look who was wrong about the performance of "Duck Dynasty's" fifth season return last night: Me! I confidently predicted that the series - bolstered by controversy, a suspension, a reverse-suspension, and a nation full of angry "Duck Dynastiacs" - would come back last night big big BIG.
Instead, it just came back "big:" 8.5 million viewers, or down nearly 30 percent from last season's premiere.
(You'd actually be surprised - or not - how often I'm wrong - did you see my picks for the Golden Globes?)
So now we must go to theories behind doors no. 1., 2., and 3:
1.) The controversy really did hurt the show, and millions were turned off by Phil Robertson's comments in "GQ."
2.) It was all what is called an "echo chamber controversy" - yes millions of "Duck Dynastiacs" were angry, a few million Fox News Channel viewers, and lots of people who go to the Drudgereport.com. But the rest of the world - 95 percent of the rest of the world - didn't have a clue what was going on, and more to the point - didn't care what was going on.
3.) A&E didn't promote the return. I'm picking this theory - but again, caveat emptor. A&E barely promoted it at all, in fact. Did not bother to remind the press of its return, ran few on-air promos (I saw none), and otherwise went with the stealth launch approach, in the hopes that no one would dredge up all the business about Phil again.
We'll wait until next week's numbers to open a few more doors...