The Texas county sheriff isn’t happy that county leaders have given A&E’s Live PD a ticket outta town, saying Commissioners “did not support my decision to maintain a relationship to grant access” to the docuseries.
News came this week that Williamson County, Texas, would no longer cooperate with Big Fish Entertainment, producer of the law enforcement reality series that airs on A&E. Various local media reports suggest that the County Commissioners sided with District Attorney Shawn Dick over concern that Big Fish does not retain or share footage with the DA of the county’s law enforcement activities.
The DA says such footage could be used for investigations and as evidence, but an attorney for the sheriff’s office counters that the TV producers are under no legal obligation to hang on to or share the footage.
Earlier this week, the locals made their choice, with Williamson County tweeting, on its official government account, “The Commissioners Court voted unanimously to terminate the contractual agreement between Williamson County and Big Fish Entertainment, the producer of the show Live PD.”
The show must stop filming on county property within 30 days, and the county says the existing contract calls for the destruction of footage – apparently unused footage – within the same time frame.
That didn’t quite sit well with Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody, who supported Big Fish. In a tweet that included a “Thank You” gif, Chody writes, “Disappointed that the Commissioners court did not support my decision to maintain a relationship to grant access to #Livepd. [The Williamson County Sheriff’s Office] benefitted on recruitment, community engagement, transparency & so much more. Thank you all 4 your continued support.”
Big Fish Entertainment intends to continue the show in another location. In a statement, the production company said, “We thank the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office and the community for their participation and wish everyone of Williamson County the best, as we shift our attention to the many other agencies around the country asking to work with Live PD.”
A spokesman for A&E tells Deadline that the Williamson County access agreement was set to expire shortly anyway, was only one of 38 departments chronicled since the series’ 2016 launch, and that the production has multiple other law enforcement departments in place for the new season starting Sept. 20.
Currently coming to a close of its third season, Live PD, which airs Friday and Saturday nights on A&E, often leads cable TV ratings for those nights. In all, A&E airs six hours of new episodes each week, not including numerous reruns and related programming.
Last night, the production offered a sly hint that might come as reassurance to fans. On its official Twitter account, “Live PD on A&E,” posted a clip of law enforcement footage, along with the message, “Sir, where are we going?”
Some places the show will not be going include Bridgeport, Connecticut; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Streetsboro, Ohio, each having chosen not to renew their Live PD contracts, according to the Associated Press, after government leaders complained that the crime-focused series depicted their cities in a negative light.
Here is the trail of tweets: