Entertainment Weekly is reporting a source saying that Phil Robertson will be part of "Duck Dynasty" after it returns to A&E with new episodes in Jan. 15
and that the network has every intention of keeping the reality series on the air.
The comments seemed to contradict A&E's announced indefinite suspension of the Robertson's patriarch for making anti-homosexual comments in the January edition of GQ magazine
"There's no negotiation to have; we're doing the show," the source said to Entertainment Weekly for a story posted Friday. "We'll figure out a solution. It’s just not going to happen overnight. Everybody will take a break for the holidays and regroup afterward. That's probably the smartest thing for everyone to do. Time heals a lot of wounds."
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A&E started a "Duck Dynasty" repeat marathon Sunday. The reality series, in its fourth season, is averaging 14.6 million viewers when including seven days of DVR playback, reported Entertainment Weekly. The magazine said all but one of the episodes for Season 5 have been shot.
The family members have told news media that they would not want to move on with the show without Robertson.
"They're an extremely tight-knit family and they're not going to let this get in the way," a source told E! News
. "(Phil) is the reason for their success – they're not going to abandon him. They're also not about to let anyone threaten their religious beliefs."
E! News reported that A&E owns all of the intellectual property rights to "Duck Dynasty" through the fifth season, but noted that the Robertsons could walk away after that.
"The family could appear on another network once their exclusivity is up with A&E," a source told E! News. "Under a normal contract, that usually means anywhere from six months to a year after the final episode has aired. However, if the family breaks their agreement with the network, the network could hold them for longer."
E! News writer Kristin Dos Santos said because of the show's immense popularity, the Robertsons would likely hold most of the cards in any negotiation.
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"It's also fair to assume that A&E needs the series more than the family does," Dos Santos wrote for her story posted Friday. "'Duck Dynasty' is A&E's highest-rated show of all time, and has put the cable network on the map. It is the second-biggest cable series of the year, behind AMC's 'The Walking Dead.'"
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