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A&E viewership tanks after network axes ‘Live PD’ amid nationwide police brutality protests

A&E Network ratings have dropped nearly 50% following the network’s announcement it would be canceling its much-loved police reality show, “Live PD.”

What’s a brief history?

The network opted to cancel the show in June amid the ongoing police brutality protests in the U.S., which were spurred on by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in late May.

At the time of the cancellation, the network said, “This is a critical time in our nation’s history and we have made the decision to cease production on Live PD. 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.”

What are the details?

A&E’s decision to cancel the show has had a significantly negative impact on the network.

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A Friday report from The Wall Street Journal notes that the show, before its cancellation, averaged 1.9 million viewers on Friday and Saturday nights.

Now, however, during the period immediately following the network’s cancellation — June 11 through July 19 — viewership on Friday and Saturday nights was 498,000 in the key demographic of adults ages 25 to 54 years.

Just before the network announced the cancellation of the hit show, A&E’s primetime viewership was up 4%, the outlet reports, citing relevant Nielsen data.

Following the cancellation, however, A&E saw its daily viewership drop 36% when compared to the same time in 2019.

A report from The Hollywood Reporter reveals that the network had run 298 episodes since its 2016 premiere, and had 160 more episodes contracted to air.

The outlet reported that on the days leading up to the cancellation, network and production executives “decided that for a variety of reasons, ranging from the current political moment to keeping crew members safe in the field amid clashes between police and protesters,” that the show would no longer air.

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