Since the cancellation of Live PD, the network experienced a decline in viewers. Ratings for A&E Network have plummeted since it removed the #1 show on cable. It proves how much the network needed the hit police reality show. The network already relies heavily on law enforcement dramas with its other shows, 60 Days In and The First 48.
It was a popular show that followed law enforcement on patrol in multiple counties across the nation. It averaged around 1.9 million viewers on Friday and Saturday nights. It also attracted viewers during its repeats.
The popularity of Live PD led to several spinoffs, which have also been canceled.
A&E lost half of its viewers after canceling Live PD
As per Fox Business, A&E noticed a significant drop in its viewers. Half of their viewers left the network after it canceled the live crime docuseries. According to data from Nielsen, average prime-time viewership for A&E between the dates of July 11 and July 19 dropped to 498,000, down 49% from the same period in 2019. Declines dropped to 55% and 53% in the key demographics for adults 18-49 and 25-54.
Before A&E pulled the show, its prime-time viewership went up 4% from the following period, according to Nielsen. The network spawned other hit shows, including Court Cam, which featured outbursts and violent altercations inside courtrooms. But nothing was as successful as Live PD itself.
A&E has declined overall. Total average viewership in the weeks since the show’s cancellation went down to 36% from a year prior, to 319,000 people. In the 18-49 and 25-54 age groups, the declines are even greater. They dropped to 42% and 46%, respectively.
However, A&E told The Wall Street Journal that the drop is a “temporary hit in the ratings” that was expected following the success of Live PD. The show has been since replaced with reruns. The network will continue to “find new hits and reinvent ourselves.” A&E has done in the past and expects to do so this time around.
Live PD’s cancellation included the cancellations of Live PD Presents: PD Cam and Live PD: Police Patrol. The Live PD universe made up for more than 85% of the network’s programming since it was their biggest money-maker.
Executives still think they made the right call
Insiders close to A&E feel that the cancellation was necessary. They had no other choice but to cancel Live PD, even dropping the show would be a huge blow to their wallets. It was an internal decision. Those involved with the decision were unhappy with the comparisons to Paramount Network’s Cops, which they claim is a different show.
“This is a critical time in our nation’s history and we have made the decision to cease production on ‘Live PD,'” is how A&E’s statement read on Wednesday. “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.”
Whatever does return to the network won’t be Live PD, according to the network.
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