If A&E had hoped, even dimly, that caving to the social justice mob would attract Woke Twitter to come and watch their programming, they made a bad bet. After cancelling “Live PD” under pressure from social justice warriors earlier this summer, the network’s ratings have cratered in the primetime slots that the cop show used to dominate.
According to a new report in The Wall Street Journal, A&E’s ratings have dropped 49% since June 11 when compared to the same time period last year. The decline is even worse when you drill down on the 25-54 age demographic; 53% of the total decline can be narrowed down to this valuable-to-advertisers age group.
Putting on a brave front in the face of catastrophe, executive with A&E assured the Journal that they are merely experiencing a “temporary hit” in the ratings, and they predicted that future programming would bring viewers back to the network.
Unfortunately, the decision to cancel “Live PD” appears to have affected the channel in systematic ways. Even their non prime-time ratings have fallen by 36%. This could be due to people boycotting the channel; it could simply be because, without tuning into “Live PD,” viewers aren’t being reminded to watch the network’s other programming. Either way, it looks like the channel is going to have its work cut out for them if they want to remain viable.
Once upon a time, “Live PD” was envisioned as a kind of new-century evolution of the show “Cops.” By broadcasting live, the show was designed to give viewers a more realistic look at the job police perform every single day. It was a smash hit from the get-go, and many viewers enjoyed the glimpse into a world that most of us will never see up close.
Unfortunately, after the world went crazy in the wake of George Floyd’s death, the network decided that it couldn’t stand by a show that portrayed cops in a positive light.
“This is a critical time in our nation’s history and we have made the decision to cease production on Live PD,” A&E said in a June statement. “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.”
By the time those meetings are finished, though, the network may realize they don’t have any viewers left to watch whatever woke “Live PD” alternative they’ve come up with.