Duck Dynasty changed A&E's fortunes — literally — and therefore, the channel has decided to go un-suspend Phil Robertson and proceed with filming the show.
On Friday, A&E released a statement that said, in part:
"Duck Dynasty is not a show about one man's views. It resonates with a large audience because it is a show about family… a family that America has come to love. As you might have seen in many episodes, they come together to reflect and pray for unity, tolerance and forgiveness. These are three values that we at A+E Networks also feel strongly about.
So after discussions with the Robertson family, as well as consulting with numerous advocacy groups, A&E has decided to resume filming Duck Dynasty later this spring with the entire Robertson family."
Robertson had been placed on hiatus from the show after making homophobic comments to GQ magazine. In answering a question about what constitutes sin, Robertson said: "Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there." He then said: "It seems like, to me, a vagina — as a man — would be more desirable than a man's anus. That's just me. I'm just thinking: There's more there! She's got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I'm saying? But hey, sin: It's not logical, my man. It's just not logical."
Within A&E's statement, the channel asserted that "[Robertson] and his family have publicly stated they regret the 'coarse language' he used and the mis-interpretation of his core beliefs based only on the article."
The "coarse language" refers to the Robertson family's non-apology from Dec. 19, the key part of which was their assertion that, "We have had a successful working relationship with A&E but, as a family, we cannot imagine the show going forward without our patriarch at the helm."
Among 18 to 49 year-olds, the demographic advertisers seek most, Duck Dynasty was the third most popular show on all of television in 2013. After A&E suspended Robertson, he received an outpouring of support from a number of conservatives, including Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal and Sarah Palin (who later admitted that she hadn't read the GQ story).
A&E says that the channel will air PSAs "promoting unity, tolerance and acceptance among all people."