'Duck Dynasty' finale ratings beat 'American Idol'

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Maybe the Duck Dynasty guys should judge American Idol.

A&E’s docu-soap phenomenon shattered previous ratings records for its Wednesday night finale. The episode following the Robertson clan to Hawaii delivered 9.6 million viewers and a 4.3 adults 18-49 rating.

That rating makes Duck Dynasty the highest-rated show last night — and not just on cable. The number is bigger than CBS’ Survivor (2.9) and bigger than Fox’s American Idol (3.3). As you can see, the fight wasn’t even close.

Duck Dynasty, along with AMC’s The Walking Dead, represent small-yet-growing number of cable shows that can overthrow the heavy hitters on broadcast. Season three of Duck Dynasty averaged 8.4 million total viewers (up 95% versus season 2) and 4.8 million adults 18-49 (up 92%), making it cable’s top-rated reality series this year, and the No. 2 original series overall behind only The Walking Dead.

Fox’s American Idol has suffered a rather dramatic ratings decline this season, though last night’s episode was basically on par with the previous week. The once-unbeatable franchise has endured several ratings indignities of late, such as getting topped by repeats of CBS’ The Big Bang Theory. Being trounced by a cable show is now added to the list, but that’s hardly a unique badge of dishonor this season.

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