The new season won’t include any mention of Phil’s travails. Most of it was shot before the controversy began.
Instead, the premiere will focus on the arrival of little-known family member Rebecca Robertson. She’ll be raising her own kind of cane, according to a new promo.
If anything, A&E is reportedly looking to for a substantial ratings boost as a result of the brouhaha. The show is already one of the top-rated cable television series, with more than 13 million viewers per episode.
The family was reportedly upset with Phil’s treatment when A&E suspended him from his own show, but a backlash and apparently cooler heads prevailed. He was quickly reinstated.
Still, rumors persist that Phil would like to move the show to a Christian network, although A&E said filming on a new season will begin later in the year.
A&E reportedly required show cast-members to refrain from harping on their Christian beliefs on the show, although it always closes with a family prayer.
Outside the show, however, Phil has been proselytizing his fundamentalist belief that the Bible is the literal word of God for years. He opened a can of worms in an interview with GQ magazine.
He damned homosexuality and denied seeing racial injustice in his hometown in the pre-segregation Louisiana.
“It seems like, to me, a vagina — as a man — would be more desirable than a man’s anus,” he told the magazine.
“That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”
Season 5 will premiere on Wednesday (Jan. 15) at 10 p.m. Eastern and Pacific. Then, just watch the feathers fly.
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