They're the next big thing. The new vampires, the next Lost, this generation's Floam.
The winged race has tread the Earth since before the dawn of man, and yet are only now earning their deserved notability: the third season of Duck Dynasty, the A&E reality series about the world of duck hunting, premiered on Thursday night to an unbelievably large audience of 8.6 million viewers.
That's not a bad intake for a primetime network series. For an A&E show, it's unprecedented.
The premiere, which showcased the continuing misadventures of the Duck Commander hunting merchandise company and its founding Robertson family, marked a 132% spike in total viewership for the series. That's five million adults from 18-49, five million adults from 25-54 (both key demographics), and — in case you forgot — 8.6 million total.
That's more viewers than the last three episodes of Community's second season combined.
That's more people than that which reside in the state capitals of every state from Alabama to New York, alphabetically, combined.
That's more human beings than that have ever said the word "conflagration."
That's about 3,000 times the number of pandas there are on the planet Earth.
And that's disdainfully depressing. But for water fowl enthusiasts and everyone with stock in A&E, the rest of it is pretty good news.
Follow Michael Arbeiter on Twitter @MichaelArbeiter.
[Photo Credit: Art Streiber/A&E]