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A&E and Paramount Network have pulled episodes of unscripted shows Live PD and Cops from their respective schedules amid nationwide protests over the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and other incidents of police violence.
Scheduled episodes of Live PD, A&E’s most popular show, will not air as planned on Friday and Saturday. Repeats of spinoff Live Rescue, which follows fire departments and rescue squads, will run in their place. Cops, meanwhile, was slated to begin its 33rd season on Paramount Network on Monday but is not currently on the ViacomCBS-owned network’s schedule.
Both shows send camera crews on ridealongs with police and document arrests, pursuits and other actions. Cops, which premiered on 1989 on a then-fledgling Fox, pioneered the format. Live PD, which debuted in 2016, follows police patrols in near-real time, as its title implies.
“Out of respect for the families of George Floyd and others who have lost their lives, in consultation with the departments we follow, and in consideration for the safety of all involved, we have made the decision not to broadcast Live PD this weekend,” A&E said in a statement. As of publication time, new episodes were still scheduled for June 12 and 13.
Cops, meanwhile, has been off the air since June 1, and Paramount Network doesn’t have any current plans to bring it back, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter. The network is gradually moving away from unscripted programming, sources note, though it’s still home to the Ink Master franchise, Bar Rescue and Wife Swap.
The decisions at A&E and Paramount Network come as protests in response to Floyd’s death and other incidents of police brutality continue in cities across the nation. Protesters have also filmed hundreds of altercations with police over the past week. Paramount Network (along with VicaomCBS’ other cable properties) went dark for 8 minutes and 46 seconds on Monday, the length of time a Minneapolis police officer had his knee on Floyd’s neck.
Live PD is the most watched show on A&E, typically averaging around 2 million viewers per three-hour episode. The cabler recently ordered 160 more episodes of the series, adding to an already massive commitment to the show. Cops has aired on Paramount Network (and forerunner Spike TV) since 2013 after 25 seasons on Fox.
Variety first reported Live PD being pulled.
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