'Duck Dynasty' premiere waddles its way into cable record books

The Robertsons
Miss Kay and Phil Robertson made it official--again--on the season four premiere of "Duck Dynasty" on Wednesday.Art Streiber / Today

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By Ashley Majeski

"Duck Dynasty" viewers gave Phil and Kay Robertson the best second wedding gift of all: record-breaking ratings.

The show's fourth season premiere on Wednesday, which focused on the elder Robertsons' wedding vow renewal ceremony, drew a whopping 11.8 million viewers, making it the most-watched non-fiction series telecast in cable history, according to ratings data released by A&E Thursday.

The A&E series follows the hi-jinks of the Robertson clan, who sell duck hunting products in the Louisiana bayou. In addition to Phil and Kay, the show also features their sons Willie, Jase and Jep and their wives. The episode, entitled "Til Duck Do Us Part," also introduced Alan, the fourth and never-before-seen Robertson son, who happens to be a minister. Alan performed the vow renewal ceremony for his parents.

Viewers also saw a softer side of the normally rough and rugged groom in the episode, particularly in a touching scene in which he tells his wife of 49 years, “Miss Kay, you wanna know something? You are my best buddy.”

Later, at the vow renewal ceremony, Miss Kay responded in kind: "From the time I was 14 years old, I loved you. We been through some good times and some hard times. I loved you when we were poor and not so nice. Now, you’re really nice. And kind. All I can say about that is, 'I’m not going anywhere'."

"You are my best friend and I love you dearly," Phil answered. "I'm gonna be with you for the long haul, till they put me in the ground."

After Phil's rascally brother, Si, threw his two cents into the ceremony, the entire clan danced the night away at the reception, which was also held on the Robertson's ranch.

The heartfelt vows not only brought a few of the burly Robertson boys to tears, but also had viewers tweet-blubbering. The show trended on Twitter for hours, and was popular even with some celebrities.