What a difference a year makes.
On March 21, 2012, A&E Network premiered the reality series “Duck Dynasty,” profiling the Robertsons of Louisiana, who have made a tidy fortune from their company, Duck Commander, which manufactures duck calls.
Almost immediately, the saga of Duck Commander CEO Willie Robertson and his nearest and dearest — his wife, Korie; his parents, company founder Phil and Miss Kay; brothers Jase and Jep; and Phil's eccentric brother, Uncle Si — became a runaway hit.
Although the Robertson men look like members of a ZZ Top tribute band (ZZ Top's “ Sharp Dressed Man” is the show's theme), with their long hair, flowing beards and collection of headgear — especially Willie's signature bandannas — “Duck Dynasty” offers a portrait of a functional family that works, plays and prays together.
Season 3 of the show launched late last month, with new episodes airing at 9 p.m. Wednesdays.
“I think it's our family,” Korie says. “You've got a lot of reality shows about family. You've got the Kardashians and ‘Here Comes Honey Boo Boo' and all that, and they're essentially about a family. What's different about ours is it's a little more functional.
“People relate to it, even though we're redneck or whatever. We're not like everyone in the country, but you can still relate.”
The Robertsons also rely on their Christian faith to get through the day, and Willie believes that's another key to the appeal of the show.
“There's a big old crew of people out there,” he says, “when they sniff it out ... we're not seeing this hardly anywhere else on TV, mixed into mainstream shows. We're not ‘The 700 Club' or anything, but when you see that — and it's just a little piece — but they do react.”
He's noticed the show does inspire people to do more than just watch.
“The show causes you to do something,” he says. “(People have driven) seven hours to come to our place and take a photo of the building. That's a rare show that causes you to buy something or do something. You just get excited about it.”