Viewers Flock to 'Duck Dynasty' -- Did Morrissey's 'Kimmel' Protest Help the Show? EW

A&E’s hit reality show “Duck Dynasty” appears to be the winner in a much-publicized clash between the show’s cast members and rock singer Morrissey. James Hibberd reports on that the series returned Wednesday night to record ratings, with its third-season premiere bringing in 8.6 million viewers.

The premiere comes amid a flurry of publicity for the show surrounding Morrissey’s decision to back out of an appearance this week on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” The British singer, an outspoken animal rights advocate, canceled the appearance in a protest against the show’s other guests, the “Duck Dynasty” cast, calling them “animal serial killers.”

As we reported earlier today, Kimmel responded by joining with the “Duck Dynasty” folks to make a video mocking Morrissey’s position. Click here to see the video.

Hibberd writes of the premiere: “It’s not only the most-watched ‘Duck Dynasty’ episode ever, it’s A&E’s most-watched telecast ever and ranks as cable’s biggest reality show telecast so far this year. The 10 p.m. episode (the first of two back-to-back airings) was up 132 percent vs. the second season premiere. Plus, ‘Dynasty’ had a 4.0 rating among adults 18-49 -- basically tying Fox’s ‘American Idol’ and ABC’s ‘Modern Family.’”

Morrissey has responded to Kimmel. Hibberd’s piece quotes Morrissey saying Kimmel “found time to jokingly promote gun-ownership -- hugely amusing for the parents at Sandy Hook, no doubt. He also promoted his special guests ‘Duck Dynasty’ -- who kill beings for fun. None of the above issues are, of course, as important as Jimmy Kimmel himself, who has finally revealed his show to have an overwhelming loss of meaning. Tune in and relive the intellectual fog of the 1950s.”