A&E Greenlights Reality Series ‘D.O.A.’ From Dick Wolf

By | Thursday April 17, 2014 @ 11:45am PDT

A&E logo1A&E Network has given the green light to unscripted series D.O.A. (working title) from Law & Order executive producer Dick Wolf and Left/Right Productions. The series follows an elite team of detectives who will re-examine controversial murder cases in which unresolved questions linger long after the verdict. Production begins this spring on eight hour-long episodes. The team includes Chicago homicide detective Michelle Wood, Miami PD detective Joe Schillaci, and retired NYPD detective and supervisor and Kevin “Spider” Gannon. The three will begin their investigation at a reconstructed crime scene and work the case interviewing first-person players and forensic specialists. The question is whether they agree with the original verdict or if the wrong person is behind bars. This marks the latest reality play for Wolf, who has also cracked the reality space with TNT hit Cold Justice, which wrapped its second season last month. The network in February ordered six more episodes to air this summer. Wolf’s Law & Order: SVU, the longest-running drama series currently on TV, is now in its 15th season.

Related: Could It Be Curtains For The ‘Law & Order’ Franchise This Season With End For ‘SVU’?

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A&E’s ‘Bates Motel’ Renewed For Third Season

By | Monday April 7, 2014 @ 1:21pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

batesMidway thought its second-season run, A&E Network’s drama Bates Motel has been renewed for a 10-episode third season to begin production in the fall. The contemporary Psycho prequel series debuted to 3 million Live+same day viewers last season, with its second season opener inching up. With DVR viewing factored in, the Season 2 premiere averaged 4.6 million viewers in Live+7 as Bates Motel continues to be A&E’s top-rated drama series in adults 18-49. “The incredible A&E logo1writing team and talented Bates Motel cast has made this series one of the most compelling original dramas on television,” said A&E EVP David McKillop. Episode 6 of Bates Motel‘s 10-episode second season airs tonight. The series shifted to 9 PM at the beginning of the season to launch new drama Those Who Kill but moved back to its old 10 PM slot after Those Who Kill was pulled following two low-rated airings. (It has since been relaunched on sibling LMN.) Bates Motel stars Vera Farmiga as Norma Bates and Freddie Highmore as Norman. Universal Television is producing, with Carlton Cuse and Kerry Ehrin executive producing.

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A&E Greenlights New Docuseries ‘The Herbert Brothers’

By | Tuesday April 1, 2014 @ 9:22am PDT

A&E logo1The Herbert Brothers (working title) follows five brothers who launched an advertising empire after creating the No. 1 Super Bowl commercial. A&E Network has ordered the new nonfiction series from Zig Zag Productions. Production is underway on eight half-hour episodes with the series slated to premiere this summer on A&E. The Herbert Brothers made advertising history when their homemade commercial won the “Doritos Crash the Super Bowl” contest and ranked No. 1 on the USA Today ad meter. The brothers took their $1,000,000 winnings, established an advertising agency in their hometown of Batesville, IN and continued developing commercials for major companies like Pepsi, Go Daddy and Shasta. Matt Gould, Danny Fenton and Mark Efman are executive producing for Zig Zag Productions. Lily Neumeyer is exec producer for A&E Network.

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Benched A&E Drama Series ‘Those Who Kill’ To Air On Sibling LMN

By | Tuesday March 25, 2014 @ 9:36pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

ThoseWhoKillGood news and bad news for fans of A&E‘s new drama series Those Who Kill, which was pulled two weeks ago after two low-rated airings. The good news: The series is coming back on the air staring this coming Sunday. The bad news: It will air on A&E sibling LMN TV (aka Lifetime Movie Network), not exactly a vote of confidence to the show by A+E Networks brass who kept the announcement of the series’ relaunch super low-key with a post on Those Who Kill‘s Facebook page. LMN, part Lifetime Entertainment Services, airs a mix of female-skewing TV and theatrical movies. It only began airing original series last fall with a handful of offerings in the nonscripted investigative/crime space. This will be LMN’s first scripted series. In what looks like a burn-off run, new episodes of Those Who Kill will air at 10 PM Sundays. The first original episode this Sunday will be preceded from 8-10 PM by rebroadcasts of the show’s first two hours that already premiered on A&E. Read More »

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A&E Pulls Mark Wahlberg-Produced Series ‘Breaking Boston’

By | Thursday March 20, 2014 @ 3:57pm PDT

A&E has pulled its other Wahlberg AE_logo__131009145106docu-series, Breaking Boston from its lineup after just one episode because…well, 311,000 viewers. The series, about four working-class women coming of age in hardscrabble Boston, was inspired by the tough, hard-as-nails female characters in Mark Wahlberg‘s Oscar-nominated movie The Fighter. A&E ordered the pilot in November 2012 and picked up the series last May. It debuted Thursday, March 13.

A&E Network already was home to Wahlberg‘s family restaurant docu-series Wahlburgers which, last month got an order for 18 additional episodes. But that project, from 44 Blue, Closest to the Hole and Leverage, has averaged 3.5 million total viewers since its debut last month in the post-Duck Dynasty slot. News of Breaking Boston’s cancellation was first reported by Variety, which said it noticed the show was missing from newspaper and interactive program guides for tonight.

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A&E Network Ups Scheduling Exec Mark Apter

By | Wednesday March 19, 2014 @ 11:27am PDT

MarkApterA&E Network has promoted Mark Apter to the post of SVP Program Planning & Acquisitions, where he will lead the network’s scheduling team. The 15-year A&E veteran, based in NY, had been VP Scheduling & Acquisitions since 2010 and helped orchestrate the rollout of network hits like Duck Dynasty and Bates Motel. In his new role he’ll be tasked with developing and implementing the network’s programming, scheduling and acquisition strategies including on digital platforms like VOD. He reports to A&E EVP and GM David McKillop.

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A&E Promotes Drew Tappon To SVP Development & Programming

By | Monday March 17, 2014 @ 9:10am PDT

200px-A&E_logo_2008.svgA&E Network has elevated Drew Tappon to the post of SVP Development & Programming, from his current position as VP Non-Fiction & Alternative Programming. David McKillop, EVP & General Manager, A&E, announced the appointment today. Tappon will be responsible for the development and production of A&E’s nonfiction, alternative and reality series and will report to McKillop. He is based in A&E’s New York City headquarters. “Drew is a talented and well-respected executive who has brought enormous energy and experience to A&E’s unscripted programming team,” said McKillop. “I am certain that he will continue to reinforce A&E’s standing as a leader in providing premium content and contribute to the growth of the network.”

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A&E’s ‘Those Who Kill’ Pulled, To Be Relaunched; ‘Bates Motel’ Returns To 10 PM

By | Wednesday March 12, 2014 @ 6:33pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

ThoseWhoKillUPDATE MARCH 24: After a two-week hiatus, Those Who Kill is returning on the air but on a different network, A&E low-profile sibling LNM (Lifetime Movie Network). Beginning March 30, the freshman drama will be airing every Sunday at 10 PM. For more details, read our story here.

PREVIOUS: A&E will be going back to the drawing board with underperforming new drama series Those Who Kill. The series has been pulled after two episodes in the the Monday 10 PM slot, behind Bates Motel. The Psycho prequel series now will move back to the 10 PM slot where its first season aired. The series premiere of Those Who Kill starring Chloe Sevigny drew a soft 1.4 million viewers, down from the series debuts of A&E’s Bates Motel (3 million) and Longmire (4.1 million) and holding onto less than half A&E logoof its Bates Motel lead-in. The freshman’s audience dropped to 830,000 in the second episode. There is no conclusive evidence that the move to 9 PM has had a significant impact on Bates Motel, with its second-season premiere up a smidgen from Season 1 and the second episode down. Despite Those Who Kill‘s paltry ratings (0.5 in 18-49 for the premiere, 0.3 for Episode 2), A&E brass want to give the show another shot, with a relaunch at another time, likely of the entire 10-episode first … Read More »

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A&E Developing Fallen Angels Drama From ‘Immortals’ Duo & Producer Michael London

By | Wednesday February 19, 2014 @ 11:39am PST
Nellie Andreeva

michaellondonEXCLUSIVE: A&E Network has put in development a high-concept drama from Immortals writers Charley & Vlas Parlapanides and producer Michael London. The project’s title, The 36, stems from the mystical Jewish concept of the Righteous 36, which stipulates that at all times there are 36 people in the world possessing special powers who don’t necessarily know each other but if even one of them was missing, the world would come to an end. A version of the premise was recently used on the Fox supernatural drama Touch where such 36 people were hunted by a shady organization. The 36 is set in the world of the biblical fallen angels. These dark angels, or Nephilim, live among us and are only kept in check by The Righteous 36. Set in New York, The parlapenides36 centers on Dane, a complicated hero who soon learns that he’s right in the middle of this battle for the soul of mankind. The Parlapanides are writing the script and will executive produce with London through his Groundswell Prods. for A+E Studios.

The 36 joins another project about angels on Earth, Syfy’s series Dominion, based on the feature Legion. Groundswell recently produced the Amazon comedy series Betas and is also producing ABC’s straight-to-series drama The Astronaut Wives Club. Additionally, the company is developing a series adaptation of Jennifer Egan’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel A Read More »

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A&E’s Latest Mark Wahlberg-Produced Series ‘Breaking Boston’ Gets Premiere Date

By | Tuesday February 18, 2014 @ 11:22am PST

A&E_logoBreaking Boston will premiere Thursday, March 13 at 10 PM on A&E Network, which already is home to producer Mark Wahlberg‘s family restaurant series Wahlburgers. The new docu-drama will center on four working-class women coming of age in hardscrabble Boston and was inspired by the tough, hard-as-nails female characters in Wahlberg‘s Oscar-nominated movie The Fighter. A&E ordered the pilot in November 2012 and picked up the series last May. “These are real women telling their original stories of trying to break out of what’s expected of them,” said Wahlberg who himself was raised in Boston and just earned his high school diploma at age 42. “The odds are difficult, but I believe they can make it.” The series is from 44 Blue Prods, Wahlberg’s Closest to the Hole Prods, Leverage Entertainment and Bill Thompson Prods. Wahlberg, Stephen Levison and Thompson are executive producers. Executive producers for 44 Blue are Stephanie Drachkovich and Jennifer Colbert. Lily Neumeyer and Devon Graham are exec producing for the network. Read More »

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A&E Orders 18 More Episodes Of Mark & Donnie Wahlberg’s ‘Wahlburgers’

By | Monday February 10, 2014 @ 11:09am PST
Nellie Andreeva

WahlburgersActors/pop singers/producers Mark and Donnie Wahlberg can add reality TV stars to their resumes with A&E’s Wahlburgers. While A&E’s flagship Duck Dynasty has lost some of its ratings prowess this season, it has helped launch a potential new breakout for the network in freshman reality series Wahlburgers, which chronicles brothers Mark, Donnie and Paul Wahlberg’s efforts to expand their burger restaurant business in the Boston area. Three weeks into Wahlburgers‘ run, A&E has ordered 18 more episodes of the series, double its original order of 9 episodes. Wahlburgers, which follows Duck Dynasty, has seen audience growth week to week, averaging 3.5 million total viewers to date. “Viewers are responding to the heartwarming dynamics of Boston’s first family as they balance living in the Hollywood spotlight and growing a business,”said David McKillop, General Manager and EVP of A&E. Wahlburgers is produced by 44 Blue Prods., in association with Closest to the Hole Productions, Leverage Entertainment and Donnie D Productions. Mark Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson and Donnie Wahlberg  exec produce with 44 Blue’s Rasha Drachkovitch.

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Shelly Tatro Joins A&E As SVP Development

By | Monday February 10, 2014 @ 9:00am PST
Nellie Andreeva

tatroFormer VH1 executive  Shelly Tatro has joined A&E Network of SVP Development & Programming. Based in New York, she will oversee the development and production of A&E’s nonfiction, alternative and reality series, reporting to EVP and general manager David McKillop. “Shelly has a great reputation for having her finger on the pulse of the industry,” McKillop said. Tatro joined VH1 in 1996 as Director of Series & Specials, and served as SVP Production & Programming from 2003 until October 2013 when she exited the network. At VH1, Tatro oversaw development and production for such shows as Mob Wives, Love And Hip Hop, Hogan Knows Best, I Want To Work For Diddy and Black Ink Crew. Tatro and her team also launched the I Love the 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s franchise and Rock Docs. Additionally, Tatro developed Jersey Shore before it premiered on sister channel MTV and developed and produced the pilot for another project that migrated to MTV, A Shot At Love With Tila Tequila. Before joining VH1, she was a freelance producer in New York and also was part of the launch team for Barry Diller’s home shopping network Q2.

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A&E’s ‘Duck Dynasty’ Down 21% From Season Bow; ‘Wahlburgers’ Debuts With 3.3M Total Viewers

By | Thursday January 23, 2014 @ 4:02pm PST

il RobertsonDis family Robertson? A week after A&E Network‘s Duck Dynasty posted its first year-to-year declines, Episode 2 of Season 5 continued the downward trend. The adventures of the Robertson clan drew 6.7 million total viewers, down an eye-opening 21% from the season opener. The 3.6 rating in the adults 25-54 demo was down a less-rough 14% from last week. The dwindling numbers come in the wake of the Wahlburgersheadline-hogging controversy over patriarch Phil Robertson’s comments about gays and blacks and his imposed-then-rescinded suspension from the show.

Meanwhile, A&E’s premiere of Wahlburgers followed at 10:30 PM and held only of half of Duck Dynasty‘s audience. The hourlong reality series from 44 Blue Productions — which chronicles Mark and Donnie Wahlberg heading back to Boston to join forces with brother Paul in a hamburger restaurant — drew 3.3 million total viewers, including 1.8 million in the demo.

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TCA: A&E’s ‘Those Who Kill’ Is Not A Serial Killer Drama, EPs Insist

By | Thursday January 9, 2014 @ 3:16pm PST

TCADeadline__140109155905Playing a police detective who tracks down serial killers on A&E Network‘s dark new drama series Those Who Kill could be draining, star Chloe Sevigny said — but not nearly as draining as guesting on The Mindy Project. ”I did Mindy and went home and cried,” she told TV critics at the TCA Winter TV Press Tour today, because she thought she’d done terribly on it. At the end of each work day on Those Who Kill, however,  she went home and thought she’d done alright. Doing HBO’s polygamist drama Big Love was also trying, she said, because “everybody was yelling at her all day because everybody thought I was the bad guy.”

Related: TV Teaser: A&E’s ‘Those Who Kill’

ThoseWhoKillThose Who Kill is based on a popular Danish crime series format inspired by the bestselling work of author Elsebeth Egholm. The series centers on Catherine Jensen (Sevigny), a freshly minted and incredibly smart police detective who tracks down serial killers. Jensen enlists the help of Thomas Schaffer (James D’Arcy), a forensic psychiatrist, to help her get into the minds of serial killers, all the while luring Schaffer into her own personal investigation of her missing brother. Read More »

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‘Duck Dynasty’ Family Launches Gun Line, But No Fireworks, In Advance Of Return To A&E

LisaColumn__131015210634-275x198Days after A&E announced it had decided to end Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson’s involuntary hiatus over remarks he made in a GQ interview – and just days before the hit reality series’ return to A&E’s lineup — the Robertson family and a popular gun manufacturer unveiled a new Duck Commander line of shotguns, semi-automatic rifles, semi-automatic pistols, etc.

Willie Robertson, CEOarticle-duckdynastyaddon2-1231 of the family’s Duck Commander, made no reference to the imminent announcement on New Year’s Eve, when he and wife Kori appeared on FNC’s ball-dropping late-night special. The press had hoped for something zippier out of that appearance than the “there will be fun good comedy from the family” and “we’re just glad to be back to work… and A&E and us are fine” script to which Willie stuck like glue no matter how many different ways FNC’s Bill Hemmer and Elisabeth Hasselbeck tried to gin up some headlines with questions about the family’s battle with A&E over Phil’s interview. Kori contributed, “We’re all happy, happy, happy. … The best thing about this show is we get to do it as a family.” The only shred of news Hemmer and Hasselbeck managed to pry out of Willie was the “spoiler” that he hires a “good looking assistant for me…and that will be revealed on the show this year.” Asked how father Phil was celebrating the New Year, and his victory over A&E, Willie said, “I reckon he’s asleep” because it’s duck hunting season and he has to get up early. Read More »

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A&E’s ‘Duck Dynasty’ Headache Continues Despite Phil Robertson’s Return; FNC Snags New Year’s Eve Interview With His Kin

By | Monday December 30, 2013 @ 3:12pm PST

LisaColumn__131015210634-275x198A&E’s Duck Dynasty headache might not be over: Fox News Channel officially announced it will ring in 2014 with Willie and Korie Robertson during its  All-American New Year special, which starts at 9 PM Eastern on Tuesday. Appearing live via satellite from Steamboat Springs, CO, for their first television appearance following A&E‘s reinstatement of Phil Robertson on the hit reality series, his son and daughter-in-law will discuss the situation with FNC’s Bill Hemmer and Elisabeth Hasselbeck. The couple also will reflect on 2013 and discuss the year ahead, FNC promised. (Hasselbeck, you’ll recall, visited the Robertson’s home and Duck Call center in Louisiana, with Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade, when she made her debut on Fox & Friends).

Related:
A&E Lifts Phil Robertson’s Suspension
Reaction To Phil Robertson’s ‘Duck Dynasty’ Return

FNC on-air talent were among those blasting A&E over its decision to put Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson on hiatus indefinitely, owing to comments he made about homosexuality in a GQ interview. Sean Hannity gave out A&E exec phone numbers on his radio show; FNC contributor Sarah Palin took to social media to voice her support for Phil Robertson, saying that his suspension is an attack on free speech. “Free speech is an endangered species,” she wrote on Facebook. Read More »

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Phil Robertson’s ‘Duck Dynasty’ Return: GLAAD & IStandWithPhil Petition Organizers React

By | Friday December 27, 2013 @ 7:29pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

Phil Robertson Duck DynastyUPDATED: GLAAD, the advocacy group whose swift reaction condemning Phil Robertson‘s controversial comments to GQ contributed to A&E‘s decision to suspend the Duck Dynasty star on Dec. 18, and Faith Driven Consumers, the organization behind the IStandWithPhil.com petition, have issued statements in response to A&E’s decision today to lift Robertson’s suspension. GLAAD did not appear especially pleased with the network’s decision, making it clear it doesn’t condone Robertson’s comments on gay relationships and Black Americans’ lives pre-Civil Rights, calling for a dialogue and urging A&E parent A+E Networks not to choose “profits over African American and gay people.” For A&E, co-owned by Walt Disney Co. and Hearst Corp., Duck Dynasty has been the biggest revenue driver, generating some $400 million in merchandise sales, according to Forbes, and bagging $80 million in ad sales for the first nine months of this year alone.

Related: A&E Lifts Phil Robertson’s Suspension; ‘Duck Dynasty’ To Resume Filming In Spring

Meanwhile, North Carolina-based Faith Driven Consumer took credit for Robertson’s reinstatement, which the group claims “is in direct response to the powerful and engaged voices of millions of Faith Driven Consumers, as highlighted by more than 260,000 signers of the IStandWithPhil.com petition.” The organization also insists it should be part of any dialogue A&E would have with advocacy groups and urges A&E to “embrace of our biblically based values and deeply held beliefs.” Here are the two statements: Read More »

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A&E Lifts Phil Robertson’s Suspension; ‘Duck Dynasty’ To Resume Filming In Spring

By | Friday December 27, 2013 @ 2:10pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

Duck Dynasty Phil Robertson ReturningUPDATED: Facing a firestorm of criticism that has shown little signs of subsiding, A&E parent company A+E Networks just issued a statement (read it below) announcing that the flagship A&E reality series Duck Dynasty will resume filming in the spring with the entire Robertson family — including patriarch Phil Robertson. The company put him on an “indefinite hiatus” on December 18 following the controversial comments he made in an interview to GQ. Duck Dynasty had been on a scheduled hiatus when the bombshell comments were made public. It had been slated to resume production in the spring, so today’s decision, which A+E said was made “after discussions with the Robertson family, as well as consulting with numerous advocacy groups,” reverts to the show’s original filming schedule. The groups whose cooperation A+E sought are said to include GLAAD, which blasted Robertson’s initial anti-gay comments, and NAACP.

Related: GLAAD Reacts To Phil Robertson’s ‘Duck Dynasty’ Return, Warns A+E Not To Choose Profits Over African American & Gay People

Duck Dynasty has nine of the 10 episodes for the upcoming fifth season with Phil in the can. It will film the final 10th episode before proceeding with production on the following cycle.  a&enetworksIn its statement today, A+E referred to the December 19 statement by the Robertson family in which they admitted that “some of Phil’s unfiltered comments to the reporter were coarse, his beliefs are grounded in the teachings of the Bible” but stressed that “Phil would never incite or encourage hate.” In the same statement, the family stood firmly behind their patriarch, indicating they would rather walk away from the show then film without Phil.

Related: Phil Robertson’s ‘Duck Dynasty’ Return Has TV Industry Abuzz

The stakes in the stand-off were high, with both A&E and the Robertsons poised to lose tens and possibly hundreds of millions of dollars, though the family had already amassed a fortune, emboldening them to make a stand. Since the controversy erupted, Phil Robertson has been defiant, reiterating his stance on gay relationships at a Bible study group. He has drawn massive support from conservatives, both politicians and regular folk, with a petition asking for his reinstatement amassing more than 250,000 signatures as of this morning. Cracker Barrel’s attempt to pull some items carrying the Phil Robertson brand Duck Commander created such strong backlash that the stores quickly restocked the items. The controversy pitted religious believes vs. tolerance and equality. It exposed the deep divisions in the country, and A+E said it wants to come out of it “promoting unity, tolerance and acceptance among all people” with a campaign across all of its networks that the company hopes the Robertsons will be part of. The brouhaha further raised awareness for Duck Dynasty, already a monster hit, some two weeks before its fifth-season premiere, which would likely shatter more ratings records. Here’s A+E’s statement:

Phil Robertson Duck DynastyAs a global media content company, A+E Networks’ core values are centered around creativity, inclusion and mutual respect. We believe it is a privilege for our brands to be invited into people’s home and we operate with a strong sense of integrity and deep commitment to these principals.

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‘Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson Breaks Silence, Defends Anti-Gay Comments

By | Sunday December 22, 2013 @ 5:48pm PST

Phil Robertson Duck DynastyDuck Dynasty reality star Phil Robertson spoke publicly for the first time today following his A&E suspension and defended the anti-gay comments that got him in hot water with the network. “We are a bunch of rednecks from Louisiana, but I am not uneducated, I have a degree from Louisiana Tech. But this week I have been called an ignoramus,” he told a Bible study group in West Monroe, Louisiana as reported by The Daily Mail. “This week I have been asked, ‘Is this the first time you have brought up sin?’ I said, ‘Are you kidding? I have been traveling to and fro spreading this message. ‘Then he said, ‘Well do you invite yourself to go and get your Bible and tell people what you are now sharing with us?’ I said, “No they are inviting me.” Last week Robertson set off a still-blazing media firestorm with his comments in GQ magazine’s January issue calling homosexuality a sin. “I love all men and women. I am a lover of humanity, not a hater,” Robertson said Sunday. Leading a prayer he said, “I will not give or back off from my path because you conquered death, Father, so we are not worried about all the repercussions,” without direct mention of A&E and the Duck Dynasty show. Later during the church’s service, son Alan Robertson addressed the media firestorm … Read More »

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