WEST MONROE, La. (CBS Houston/AP) – Despite the controversy surrounding “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson’s words regarding homosexuality, A&E executives reportedly admitted that the indefinite suspension handed down in light of his inflammatory comments may not have been the wisest move.

They are now admitting, at least in private, that they should have simply taken the show off the air during the holiday season, which has involved repeated airings of past episodes, RadarOnline.com learned.

“Network bosses now recognize they should have just taken the show off the air for two weeks, since reruns were just airing anyway,” an unnamed source told the website. “The fallout wouldn’t have been strong and everyone could have just moved on.”

The same source also said that online campaigns supporting Robertson have spelled “absolute disaster for A&E.”

The trouble began when Robertson told a GQ reporter that gays are sinners who are going to hell, while also drawing lines between homosexuality and bestiality. He additionally stated that, in his youth, he picked cotton with African-Americans and never saw “the mistreatment of any black person. Not once.”

“Duck Dynasty” is now on hiatus until Jan. 15, and a network spokesman said Thursday that nine of next season’s 10 episodes have already been filmed. The Robertson family released a statement on the Duck Commander website (http://bit.ly/1c5vI5G ) in which they expressed thanks for prayers and support.

“Now, it’s a stand-off between the family and the network, who is going to blink first?” the anonymous source told RadarOnline.com of the present situation. “There is no way Phil is going to apologize for his comments because he doesn’t think what he said is hateful or prejudice, it’s his religious beliefs.”

The person added that the “network is hopeful that cooler heads will prevail and a solution that is suitable for both parties can be reached. A&E isn’t going to walk away from Duck Dynasty, they can’t afford to do it. It’s just a matter of getting both sides to agree on how to move forward.”

“Duck Dynasty” is often the highest-rated cable show on television, and an episode last August that drew nearly 12 million viewers was the highest-rated of any show, cable or broadcast, that week.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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