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The Duck Dynasty cast is back in the saddle, or in camouflage, as it were. A&E’s hit reality series returned on Wednesday night for its Season 3 premiere and, as it turns out, an inflated number of viewers has now decided the series is worth a watch. In fact, 8.6 million total viewers signed on for last night’s episode of Duck Dynasty.

On Wednesday, Duck Dynasty aired back-to-back episodes at 10 p.m. ET, thus managing to beat the likes of network TV’s CSI in total viewers. Additionally, THR is reporting the Season 3 premiere was up 132% from the show’s Season 2 debut. That’s a wildly impressive figure, but the good news doesn’t end there. The show’s first Season 3 telecast ranks as the network’s biggest telecast ever, also winning the #1 cable telecast for the night. I’m going to go ahead and say it’s the beards that are drawing in the big numbers.

The news comes just a couple of days after the cast of Duck Dynasty appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live. They were supposed to appear opposite Morrissey, but the long-time animal lover famously refused to appear on Tuesday’s episode of Kimmel’s late night show due to the Duck Dynasty crew’s hunting preferences. The controversy probably had very little to do with last night’s swell in premiere ratings, but it can’t hurt to have your show’s name in the news right before a premiere date, either. Either way, congrats to A&E for finding such high success in such an unlikely show.
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