US cabler A&E has cancelled its hit unscripted police series Live PD, a week after pulling the show from its schedule in the wake of George Floyd’s death while in police custody.
Producer Big Fish Entertainment had recently been handed a commission for another 160 episodes of the prominent US reality cop show but the US cabler said it was now stopping production of the programme, which followed officers in real time as they tracked suspects.
“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.
“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.”
Live PD became a hit show for A&E and Big Fish, which was acquired by MGM in 2018, with spin-offs including Live Rescue. It recently emerged that Live PD crew had been filming when a black man named Javier Amblin die in custody in Texas. Footage was not aired and was later destroyed.
The news follows the decision by fellow US cabler Paramount Network to cancel its long-running reality series Cops, which the ViacomCBS-owned operator had also pulled from its schedule amid global protests following Floyd’s death.
Floyd, a black US citizen, was killed while in the custody of Minneapolis police officers on 25 May, with one white officer, Derek Chauvin, holding his knee on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes. Chauvin and three other officers face murder charges.
Companies across the entertainment industry came together last week to mark ‘Blackout Tuesday’, with firms including ViacomCBS, AGC Studios and Inspire Entertainment not holding any business for a day to mark Floyd’s death.
Other media giants have donated millions to anti-racism charities and issued statements of solidarity, while Oprah Winfrey is this week hosting a two-night special in response to the continuing civil unrest in America.