A&E Officially Cancels 'Live PD' After Protests And Report On Police Custody Death Video
A&E has made official the cancellation of Live PD. The police reality docuseries debuted in 2016, but was pulled after the Black Lives Matter protests and a report on the show's filming of a police custody death. Read A&E's statement here.
A&E has cancelled Live PD in the aftermath of George Floyd's death and the ongoing protests against police brutality and systemic racism.
The network released a statement to Deadline on Wednesday evening, confirming the end of its top-rated series.
"This is a critical time in our nation's history and we have made the decision to cease production on Live PD," A&E's statement said.
"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."
Live PD cancelled by A&E in season 4
Live PD, which has aired between 60 and 90 episodes in each of its first three seasons, has concluded on A&E after a 65th episode in season 4.
According to CNBC, the reality program was the network's top ad-supported series and had gained an increased viewership amid the lockdown period.
On Wednesday evening, Live PD host Dan Abrams expressed that he was "shocked and beyond disappointed" about the news.
Shocked & beyond disappointed about this. To the loyal #LivePDNation please know I, we, did everything we could to fight for you, and for our continuing effort at transparency in policing. I was convinced the show would go on. . More to come. . .https://t.co/WWh7fDrig2— Dan Abrams (@danabrams) June 11, 2020
A&E and Live PD under fire for report on police custody death video
The cancellation also comes after news broke on Monday that Live PD's production crew had captured and thereafter destroyed footage of the death of a black man in police custody in 2019.
A&E released a new statement on Thursday with EW, addressing the video of 40-year-old Javier Ambler's death.
"Video of the tragic death of Javier Ambler was captured by body cams worn on the officers involved as well by the producers of Live PD who were riding with certain officers involved," the statement began.
"The incident did not occur while Live PD was on the air but rather during the show’s hiatus, when producers are regularly out in the field gathering footage. The footage never aired on Live PD per A&E's standards and practices because it involved a fatality."
The statement went on to explain why the footage was destroyed.
"Immediately after the incident, the Austin Police Department conducted an investigation using the bodycam footage they had from the officers.
"Contrary to many incorrect reports, neither A&E nor the producers of Live PD were asked for the footage or an interview by investigators from law enforcement or the District Attorney’s office. As is the case with all footage taken by Live PD producers, we no longer retained the unaired footage after learning that the investigation had concluded.
"As with all calls we follow, we are not there to be an arm of the police or law enforcement but rather to chronicle what they do and air some of that footage and our policies were in place to avoid having footage used by law enforcement against private citizens."
Live PD joins Cops in cancellations of police reality TV
The cancellation follows Paramount Network's axing of Cops ahead of its 33rd season. Live PD followed a similar format to the long-running Cops series, and had just been renewed for an additional 160 episodes in May.