- The Washington Times - Friday, July 24, 2020

A&E Network lost nearly half its prime-time viewers since scrapping the popular police reality series “Live PD” in response to the George Floyd protests, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

Average prime-time viewership for A&E between June 11 and July 19 was down 49% from the same period last year, the report said. Average daily viewership was down 36% from a year earlier.

A&E told The Wall Street Journal in a statement that the drop was a “temporary hit in the ratings” that the network anticipated due to the popularity of the show, and that it had mostly been replaced by reruns. “The network said it has always been able to ‘find new hits and reinvent ourselves,’” the newspaper reported.

A&E announced it was getting rid of “Live PD” on June 10 after weeks of nationwide protests and one day after the similar show “Cops” was dropped by the Paramount Network after 33 seasons.

“Live PD,” which followed police officers conducting their daily business across the country, was criticized by Black Lives Matter activists as being sympathetic to law enforcement.

“This is a critical time in our nation’s history and we have made the decision to cease production on Live PD,” A&E explained at the time. “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.”

“Shocked & beyond disappointed about this,” the show’s host, veteran journalist Dan Abrams, tweeted at the time. “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.”

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