Despite much controversy over the past two weeks, Duck Dynasty will return on schedule next year, with Phil Robertson an active participant, A&E announced.
The company suspended Robertson indefinitely December 18 following controversial anti-gay comments the 67-year-old made in an interview with GQ.
Duck Dynasty had been on hiatus when the comments went public; the show is set to return in January and to resume filming new episodes this spring.
None of that will change. The network, “after discussions with the Robertson family, as well as consulting with numerous advocacy groups,” says the show will go on.
The Robertson family admitted that the anti-gay comments were coarse, but criticized the suspension and implied they would not film without Phil.
Since the national controversy erupted, Phil Robertson has been defiant, reiterating his stance on gays, sin and homosexuality at a Bible study group.
He has been roundly criticized by gay rights groups, but supporters began demanding his reinstatement and even planning a Chick-Phil-A Day.
The network thus found itself in the midst of a PR nightmare, and ultimately decided to distance itself from Phil's views while still bringing back the show.
A&E's statement on the decision, released Friday, reads: