'Live PD' Cancellation Sees A&E Network Lose Half Its Viewers

Things haven't been going well at the A&E network following the cancellation of Live PD. The cable network has reportedly lost roughly half of its overall viewers since the reality show was pulled from the schedule.

As Fox News reports, the network's average prime-time viewership between June 11 and July 19 was 498,000 people, down 49 percent from the same period last year, citing Nielsen data. It also lost out on two key demographics, with adults ages 18-49 down 55 percent and adults 25-54 down 53 percent. It's assumed that the drop in viewers is due to the lack of any Live PD episodes, which follows police on their rounds in multiple cities simultaneously. The show pulled in around 1.9 million viewers between its Friday and Saturday night episodes. Reruns throughout the week were also a reliable audience grabber, as were the also-canceled spinoffs.

The Disney and Hearst-owned A&E dropped Live PD off the schedule following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police, which sparked civil rights protests across the U.S. calling for widespread police reform. Shows like Live PD and Cops (which was also canceled) were seen as glorifying police as a means to skew public perception. While there had been some talk of the show finding a possible "way forward," including from host Dan Abrams, it appears less and less likely to happen.

The show's involvement with how police are portrayed on primetime TV has also been muddied due to the death of Javier Amblin, who was killed by police in Williamson County, Texas. His confrontation with the cops, and eventual killing, was documented by the series, which ended up destroying the footage. While the network insisted that this was simply protocol, Abrams himself admitted that it wasn't the best decision.

"I think there should have been an exception to the rule, we got too caught up in the standards," Abrams said on his SiriusXM program, The Dan Abrams Show. "I think that it's very troubling that we're suddenly in a culture where all police officers have to suffer for the sins of a few. And I say that for every group, it's not just police officers. That doesn't mean we don't have to have a discussion about the inequities in our society. And not just a discussion — action. There should be changes." Though he also opined that some of the response to the protests has been "an overreaction."