EXCLUSIVE: A&E has canceled its flagship series and one of the highest-rated shows on basic cable. A week after Live PD was pulled in the wake of George Floyd’s death, the reality series’ hiatus has been made permanent.
The decision was made jointly by A&E and MGM’s Big Fish Entertainment, which produces the series.
“This is a critical time in our nation’s history and we have made the decision to cease production on Live PD,” the network said in a statement to Deadline. “Going forward, we will determine if there is a clear pathway to tell the stories of both the community and the police officers whose role it is to serve them. And with that, we will be meeting with community and civil rights leaders as well as police departments.”
The cancelation of Live PD comes a day after Paramount Network pulled the plug on another docuseries featuring the police, the long-running Cops. At the time, A&E was still evaluating whether the show could come back at the right time. Last night, Live PD host Dan Abrams addressed viewers on Twitter.
“To all of you asking whether #LivePD coming back. . .The answer is yes,” he wrote. “All of us associated with the show are as committed to it as ever. We are still discussing some specifics but I want to assure the #LivePDNation that we are not abandoning you.”
Ultimately, both the network and the production company on Wednesday came to the conclusion that there was currently no path forward for the show in its current form as protesters and politicians are calling for a police reform following the death of Floyd while restrained by a cop during arrest.
This week, Austin outlets reported on the March 2019 death of Javier Ambler during a police stop, which was allegedly captured by the Live PD crew but the video has been destroyed.
The cancelation comes a month after A&E renewed Live PD for an additional 160 episodes.
Airing Friday and Saturday nights from 9 PM-12 AM, Live PD was ad-supported cable’s #1 show on Fridays and Saturdays in 2019 and has helped A&E become a leading cable network. The series had risen to the top spots in all cable during the pandemic when live sports were suspended, drawing a total of about 3 million viewers per weekend.
Here is Abrams’ reaction to the news of Live PD’s cancelation:
Live PD was hosted by Abrams with analysis from Tom Morris Jr. and Sgt. Sean ‘Sticks’ Larkin. It followed police departments from across the country in real time as they patrol their towns. Executive producers for Big Fish Entertainment were Dan Cesareo, Lucilla D’Agostino and John Zito.
It is extremely rare for a network to abruptly cancel its highest-rated series. ABC did it two years ago with Roseanne following a racist tweet by star Roseanne Barr.
When it launched in 2016, Live PD marked a logistical breakthrough by being able to pull off a complex live broadcast from multiple locations at a reasonable cost. It launched a whole genre of live docuseries and was followed by such shows as M.D. Live on TNT and First Responders Live on Fox, but remained the most successful in the field.
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