A&E Ratings Plummet Following ‘Live PD’ Cancellation

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in Maryland. He covers U.S. and world news.
July 25, 2020Updated: July 25, 2020

A&E saw its ratings drop by nearly 50 percent after canceling “Live PD,” a police reality series that was axed last month.

A&E dropped the show on June 10.

According to data from Nielsen, the average prime-time viewership from June 11 to June 19 was 498,000, a drop of 49 percent from the previous year.

The drop in viewership was 55 percent and 53 percent, respectively, among the 18 to 49 and 25 to 54 demographics.

“When you take one of the top series in cable off the network in the middle of a pandemic and only air mostly non-premiere programming, you’re obviously going to take a temporary hit in the ratings,” a spokesperson for A&E told The Wrap.

“It’s to be expected, but what has always set A&E apart is the brand’s ability to find new hits and reinvent ourselves.”

The network said it has new shows in the pipeline. Two are set to debut next month, including “What’s it Worth?’ and “Extreme Unboxing.”

“In the meantime, we are continuing to listen to both community leaders and Live PD fans to find a way to serve both moving forward,” the spokesperson said.

“Live PD” regularly drew over 1 million viewers on Friday and Saturday nights. A&E describes the show as “a documentary series that showcases the policing of America, following police departments from across the country in real time as they patrol their communities.”

Over 300 episodes aired since its debut in 2016 before the cancellation, which come on the heels of Paramount Network axing “Cops,” a similar program.

In a statement announcing the move, A&E called the current environment “a critical time in our nation’s history.”

“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,” it added.

Dan Abrams, who hosts the show, told supporters last month that the show would be coming back in some capacity.

Nine days before the cancellation, “Live PD” released a statement saying: “We stand against racism. We stand for equality. We stand united with our viewers, employees, partners, and the entire black community. We stand united for a better, more just tomorrow.”

“Cops” dated back to 1989. It also documented police officers working in the United States.

Paramount acquired the show in 2013; it previously aired on Fox.

Paramount in a statement on May 31 expressed support for the Black Lives Matter movement, which was founded in 2013 and pushes for racial equality, the disruption of the nuclear family, defunding the police, and other ideals.

Paramount said it was calling “for the end of systemic racism” and “justice.”

The cancellations of the shows are among the slew of changes taking place in American society following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, in police custody in Minneapolis on Memorial Day. The death sparked widespread protests. Riots have taken place at or near some of the gatherings.