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'Duck Dynasty' fame keeps family busy

by GREG HILBURN The (Monroe, La.) News-Star on September 24, 2013 10:30 AM

WEST MONROE, La. — Life for the West Monroe Robertsons, America’s most famous family, has become an exciting, but exhausting, blur.

They manage a four-day-a-week filming schedule for A&E’s “Duck Dynasty,” 500 daily requests for appearances, book tours for three current New York Times best-sellers, a soon-to-be released Christmas album, art projects and a Christian Caribbean cruise that sold out in 20 days.

Oh, and they still have to manage the multimillion Duck Commander company that patriarch Phil Robertson founded to start it all.

“I’m not sure if we’re still filming episodes for the current season or whether we’ve started filming for next season,” said Al Robertson, the eldest son of Phil and Kay Robertson who joined the “Duck Dynasty” cast this season.

“There’s no down time,” he said. “It’s still fantastic, but it’s definitely a little more of a grind now that everybody has side projects and are pulled in all different directions.”

Still, the Robertsons’ only concession to their frenetic pace is giving Phil a break from what had become weekly speaking appearances that usually included travel.

“Life is definitely more hectic,” Phil Robertson said. “One had better know who one is before something like this happens. Our greatest fear is that we might come out of this acting like Charlie Sheen.”

Phil said he, in particular, remains stunned by the family’s skyrocketing fame and popularity, from the A&E “Duck Dynasty” series that has become the most watched reality cable TV show in history, to the best-sellers.

“It’s amusing to me because I didn’t look for the TV show to go ballistic or the books,” he said. “(Publisher) Simon & Schuster told me they don’t believe there have ever been three members of a family to have best-sellers all at the same time.”

Phil’s “Happy, Happy, Happy,” son and company CEO Willie’s and wife Korie’s “The Duck Commander Family” and Uncle Si’s “Si-cology” are all among the Top 10 best-sellers.

“Miss Kay is fast on our heels (with a cookbook in November), Al’s “Duck Commander Devotional” (is due out Oct. 15) and (son) Jase is yet to come,” Phil said. “I can tell you that it’s as big a surprise to us as it is to Simon & Schuster.”

The Robertsons won’t get a break from filming until duck hunting season in late November, which will be a welcome respite.

But Al and Phil said the family is committed to keep up the pace while the demand remains hot.

“These things tend to have a shelf life,” Phil said.

“We don’t know how long it will last, so we’re going to maximize it until we find out what the new normal will be,” Al said. “It rolls on for now.”

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