TODAY   |  January 18, 2014

After controversy, ‘Duck Dynasty’ ratings drop in the millions

The show “Duck Dynasty” is back for season five, but the ratings are drastically lower than last year, dropping from 11 million last season to 8 million. “American Idol” has also struggled with viewers, down from 37 million viewers in its heydey to 15 million. TODAY’s Lester Holt and Erica Hill interviews E!’s Alicia Quarles.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> time for a check of "today's hollywood headlines" this morning, from "saturday night live's" newest cast member to feathers falling over the rating for the "duck dynasty" clan.

>> and alicia quarrels will take us through it. welcome back.

>> thank you, i'm tired from -- thank you, thank you! i was in l.a. glad to be back with you guys.

>> excellent. let's start with the first one, big night for "saturday night live," because the first black female cast member in six years makes her debut tonight, sasheer zamata. did i say her name correctly?

>> you said it correctly.

>> this is a big deal , but for a number of reasons.

>> it's a huge deal. so, she's, as you said, fifth black cast member . lorne michaels got a lot of flack for hiring six new cast members , none of them of color. in addition, he hired two african-american women to write on the show. "snl's" always been a reflection of society, and in order to do that, you have to have a diverse group. so, it's a big deal . the crowds are waiting outside. i don't know if they're waiting for her or for drake, but --

>> maybe both.

>> yeah, maybe both.

>> she's kind of showing up drake. drake is hosting and performing this week, but she's getting all the attention.

>> that's right, and she's got the chops. she's a member of the upright citizens brigade , has her own weekly show, has been on shows like "inside the mind of amy schumer ," so she's talented, has been around and is getting a lot of attention.

>> more on her story is coming up later in the broadcast, but let's transition to "duck dynasty," season five they return. what's been the fallout from the controversy in terms of ratings?

>> well, the fallout is ratings drop, and when i say ratings drop, it's still huge numbers. they made about $11 million in the debut last season, this time $8 million. those are still numbers networks die for, but it goes to show you that not everybody was on phil's side. so, those people watching the show that enjoyed the family that didn't appreciate the comments that he said, maybe didn't back down from, aren't tuning in.

>> hmm, interesting on that one. and " american idol ," meantime, had its lowest rating since season one. it's just come back on the air for its newest season.

>> boy, remember that was king?

>> oh, my gosh, for a long time.

>> it was king.

>> "the voice" --

>> um, you do love "the voice."

>> i do, and not because it's on nbc, but it's a great show.

>> but you make a great point, because "the voice" people think is doing so well because the judges get along. it's still good tv.

>> yeah.

>> i idol" this time, 15 million viewers, last season 17 million in their debut, but in their heyday, 37 million viewers. so, "the voice" is beating "idol" and they're taking a page from that with the judges getting along.

>> looks like they're trying to emulate it a little bit.

>> they are, and make it more about the contestants and less about the drama of the judges. remember nicki minaj and mariah carey .

>> do we have to remember that?

>> it was fun, good to talk about.

>> i remember way back there was going to be this batman- superman movie . i forgot about it, but now there is buzz overnight that it's been pushed back, right?

>> pushed back by nine months. now the new date is may 2016 . and this is rare for a movie that hasn't been shot yet. usually it's a movie that's been shot and pushed back, you know, it doesn't bode well because it's going to have to be rewritten or something. we don't know why this is being pushed back. the studio just says it's to achieve the visualization that we want it to, but this movie's already marred in controversy. of course, when ben affleck was cast, people were upset, a lot of people. so, hey, i guess if it's got us talking, all press is good press, right?

>> there you go.

>> that's what they say. i'm okay with ben affleck being batman.