A&E Network may have forgiven Phil Robertson, but “Duck Dynasty’s” proud patriarch has NOT forgiven A&E for suspending him – and is planning a devastating revenge!
A source tells The ENQUIRER that Robertson, 67, will return to A&E filming in the spring, but meanwhile he’s hatching a secret plot to form his own TV production company, jump ship from A&E and take his whole family – and hundreds of millions of advertising and merchandise dollars – with him!
Phil was suspended after condemning the gay lifestyle in a recent magazine interview. Now, he’s said to be furious over that suspension as well as A&E’s attempts to control his family’s religious message and falsely portray the already wealthy Robertson clan as ignorant hillbillies. He plans to take over production and solicit religious TV networks, like Trinity Broadcast Corporation and Christian Television Network, to host the show.
“A&E messed with the wrong redneck,” a source close to the show told The ENQUIRER. “Phil has agreed to return, but he’s already working on getting out of their contracts!
“Phil was humiliated by the show’s producers when they suspended him for his personal beliefs about homosexuality, and he’s not going to forget it. By agreeing to return to ‘Duck Dynasty,’ it merely buys him more time to organize his new production company.
“He’s a crafty soul with the patience of Job, and he plans to extract his pound of flesh from the network.”
The “Duck” crew signed a new contract with A&E in August for $200,000 per episode, which is said to bind the Robertsons to several more seasons of the show. But, says the insider, Phil is gearing up to hire a costly, high-powered legal team to free them from further obligations after the upcoming fifth season ends.
“Phil and the rest of his crew have plenty of money to do whatever they want – and he’s confident lawyers can find a loophole and get them, out of any long-term commitments,” explained the insider. “Phil wants to use his company name Duck Commander as the title for an entirely new show that they can produce themselves and be in control of what goes on.”
The clan’s bombshell decision to shift networks will deal an enormous blow to A&E, which would be losing the most successful reality show in cable TV history.
The Season 4 premiere in August drew a whopping 11.8 million viewers, and the “Duck Dynasty” Christmas special attracted about 9 million more. Even more importantly, it earned an estimated $885 million in total revenue in 2013.
“In the end, the viewers and the many millions of dollars that ‘Duck Dynasty’ brings in will make it easy for Phil and the family to switch to whatever network they want,” said the insider.
Veteran TV critic Bill Mann told The ENQUIRER: “If the Robertsons started their own production company, changed the show’s name and moved to a Christian channel, the show would still be a huge success.
“The family wants to remain true to their Christian principles, and most Christian channels would love to have their show because of the huge number of viewers it attracts.”
A&E execs made themselves sitting ducks for the Robertsons’ revenge and the enormous backlash from fans.
“Suspending Phil was a very stupid move, and A&E CEO Nancy Dubuc even received death threats over it,” said the insider. “The network thought it was putting on another show like ‘Honey Boo Boo,’ where viewers would laugh at a pack of uneducated, backwoods rednecks. But instead, TV viewers fell in love with the Robertsons, who stand true to their beliefs and won’t back down.
“Phil has long been angry at the network, first for putting phony ‘bleeps’ in to make it appear that the family was swearing, and then demanding they stop using ‘in Jesus’ name’ in their prayers, so as not to offend people of other faiths.
“Phil publicly blasted the show as ‘fake,’ but at the same time he saw it as an opportunity for the family to spread the Gospel to millions of viewers.
“However, when Phil learned that Scott Gurney (head of the show’s production company) starred in an R-rated 2001 homosexual flick called ‘The Fluffer,’ he exploded in anger.
“The family held a secret meeting and decided to explore starting their own TV production company and taking their new show to a Christian broadcasting network.
“Phil sees this as a cultural war and says, ‘I’ll not have it. We’ll walk out and take the show WITH us!’