'Duck Dynasty' Season 3 premiere sets a ratings record for A&E

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duck-dynasty-record-ratings.jpgFear the beards: The third-season season premiere of "Duck Dynasty" on A&E Wednesday night (Feb. 27) shattered ratings records for the channel.

The back-to-back episodes to open Season 3 averaged 8.6 million viewers, making them the most-watched programs in the cable channel's history. Only CBS' "CSI" (9.3 million) brought in a bigger total audience in the 10 o'clock hour.

"Duck Dynasty" also shined in the demographic numbers, drawing 5 million people in both the 18-49 and 25-54 age groups -- far and away the best performance of the hour on either broadcast or cable. Its 18-49 audience is up there with the night's broadcast leaders, "Modern Family" and "American Idol."

The show more than doubled its Season 2 premiere ratings in viewers and both the 18-49 and 25-54 demos.
Photo/Video credit: A&E