The bearded stars of Duck Dynasty are asking for a big pay increase to return to A&E’s top-rated series, and the salary standoff is holding up a fourth-season renewal of the show, THR is reporting. The Robertson family, including brothers Phil and Si and Phil’s sons, have seen their outdoorsman empire Duck Commander earn a small fortune thanks in part to notoriety from the hit reality series. Now they have banded together and — represented by WME — are angling to renegotiate their existing contracts. Sources close to the negotiation say the family is asking for more than $200,000 an episode from A&E and production company Gurney Productions to return for a fourth season, with additional raises for subsequent seasons.
The standoff comes as little surprise given Duck Dynasty‘s success. Season three bowed in February to a whopping 8.6 million viewers and a 3.9 rating among adults 18-to-49. In the key demo, Duck Dynasty is second only to AMC’s The Walking Dead on all of cable and tops all broadcast offerings in its 10 p.m. Wednesday slot.
Hit reality shows have a history of salary stalemates. For instance, the cast of MTV’s Jersey Shore held up production in 2010 while demanding a 200 percent raise for its third season and beyond. Discovery’s Deadliest Catch cast quit the show amid a 2010 lawsuit and pay dispute then “un-quit” when the spat was resolved.
Some networks, like Discovery with Bering Sea Gold, have tried to combat plays for triple-digit pay increases by locking casts into five-year contracts early on, but renegotiations are common on hit shows after the second or third seasons.
A&E declined comment.
However, a source close to the stars tells Highlight Hollywood, “A deal is being worked out!”