It looks like Phil Robertson's suspension from "Duck Dynasty" may be just for show. Entertainment Weekly learned that on Jan. 15, A&E will begin airing new episodes of the show that include scenes featuring the "Dynasty" patriarch.
"The network also hopes the media and fan furor will cool down over the holidays and that tensions over shooting future episodes can then be resolved," Entertainment Weekly reports. “There’s no negotiation to have; we’re doing the show,” an inside source told them.
A&E suspended Robertson over anti-gay remarks he made in a GQ profile. The duck hunter-turned-TV star compared homosexuality to bestiality and also said, “It seems like, to me, a vagina -- as a man -- would be more desirable than a man’s anus." Robertson responded to backlash about his comments by saying, "I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me."
After A&E's suspension, Robertson's friends and family came out in support of him. Sources told E! News that the family was "very serious" about leaving the reality show after Robertson was placed on hiatus. "[Phil] is the reason for their success—they're not going to abandon him. They're also not about to let anyone threaten their religious beliefs," the source told E!. The family released a statement on the Duck Commander website saying, "We are disappointed that Phil has been placed on hiatus for expressing his faith."
The episodes slated to air after the New Year are part of the show's fourth season, which averages a colossal 14.6 million viewers, including DVR playback, but there's no telling if a fifth season will happen. Based on the success of the "Duck Dynasty" brand -- the family even made a holiday album that sold surprisingly well -- we'd be surprised if the network let the show die. The Huffington Post's immediate request for comment was not returned.
Meanwhile, A&E will air a "Duck Dynasty" marathon on Sunday, Dec. 22. Enjoy ... ?
Also on HuffPost:
Willie now. Previous slide: Willie is all business in the front and party in the back as a student at was then Northeast Louisiana University (it's now University of Louisiana at Monroe).
Jep now. Previous slide: Who knew Jep was such a studly high school senior?
Jase now. Previous slide: In this family photo from a few years ago, Jase only has the beginning of the beard he sports today.
Phil now. Previous slide: Who would have guessed that this young boy would grow up to become Phil Robertson: Duck Commander?
Uncle Si now. Previous slide: It's Uncle Si without the beard! Didn't he look dapper when he was in the military?
Recognize those fresh faces? Clockwise from left: Willie, Jep, and Jase.
From left to right: Jase, Uncle Si, Jep and Willie.
Before the Beards
The beardless Robertson boys. From left to right: Willie, Jase, Alan (who is joining the show in Season 4), and Jep.