A&EDuck Dynasty returned to US screens this week but was down 28% on last season’s opener.

The show broadcast on cable channel A&E returned Wednesday night with 8.5 million viewers, down from the 11.8 million viewers who tuned in last August. Despite the drop in ratings, Duck Dynasty remains one of cable television’s biggest shows.

Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson caused controversy in December when he criticised gay and black people in a magazine interview. He was suspended by the network but after a backlash from fans A&E quickly reversed their decision.

The reality series focuses on the Robertson family as they run the family-operated waterfowl hunting, known as duck hunting in the States.

Duck Dynasty airs in the UK on ITV4.

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