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Cable Series -- One of the Oddest TV Hits in Years -- Breaks Viewership Record TVWeek

One of the most unlikely hit TV shows in recent memory continues to rack up ratings records for the cable network airing it. A&E reports that its runaway hit “Duck Dynasty,” which focuses on a family of duck call makers, pulled in 9.6 million viewers for its season finale.

The episode, which aired Wednesday, set network records for total viewers, adults 18-49, adults 25-54 and adults 18-34. The program delivered 5.6 million viewers in the 25-54 demo, 5.5 million in 18-49 and 2.6 million in 18-34, the cable network announced.

The episode wrapping up the show’s third season was poised to be the top program Wednesday night on cable or broadcast in the key 18-49 demo, according to A&E.

“’Duck Dynasty’s’ 4.3 national adults 18-49 rating (total US) was also 34% stronger than last night’s top broadcast show, ‘American Idol’ (3.2 adults 18-49 rating),” the channel reported.

The series is blowing away its numbers from season two. “Season three of ‘Duck Dynasty’ averaged 8.4 million total viewers (up 95% versus season 2), 4.8 million adults 18-49 (up 92%) and 4.7 million adults 25-54 (up 81%), making it cable’s #1 non-fiction series this year, and the #2 original series overall (behind only AMC’s ‘Walking Dead’)," A&E reported.

One possible explanation for the series’ recent surge may be the attention it received when rock singer Morrissey waged a high-profile protest against the show back in February, skipping an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on which “Duck Dynasty” cast members were also scheduled.

Morrissey, an outspoken animal rights advocate, protested to show his disapproval of the show’s hunting focus, calling the cast members “animal serial killers.” Kimmel and the “Dynasty” boys lampooned the protest, as we reported previously.