Some of the immediate casualties of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis were television shows that did not portray police officers as serial killers. Even thoroughly woke police dramas like Law and Order: SVU, which basically was a serialization of Lifetime movies, are under threat of cancellation rather than offend the outrage mob. Among the collateral damage were the long-running reality shows Cops and Live PD. Spoiler Alert for any SVU episode you didn’t watch: the man did it. If the man is a father who takes his kids to church or is a priest or pastor, then he is definitely a pedophile. The gay or lesbian is the hero. Trust me.
While NBC had plenty of politically-correct gender-questioning variable-pronoun dross to drop into the gap left by SVU, A&E network, which aired Live PD, didn’t have that deep of a schedule.
Ratings for A&E Network have plummeted since it canceled the hit police reality show “Live PD” on June 10, a sign of how much the network relies on law-enforcement programming.
Average prime-time viewership for A&E between June 11 and July 19 was 498,000 people, down 49% from the same period last year, according to data from Nielsen. In the key demographics of adults 18-49 and 25-54, the declines are 55% and 53%, respectively.
The show, which follows police on their rounds in multiple cities simultaneously, averaged about 1.9 million viewers for its Friday and Saturday night episodes, repeatedly re-aired on other days. It spawned several successful spinoff shows, also canceled.
The ratings collapse, as one might guess, is not limited to prime time. Logic tells you that if you kiss off half of your audience in prime time that a non-trivial number of those prime time viewers were regular A&E customers. I can tell you from my experience on this site that you do not build readership by trolling, belittling, and insulting your readers.
A&E’s ratings declines go beyond prime time. Total daily average viewership in the weeks since the show was pulled is down 36% from a year earlier, to 319,000 people. In the 18-49 and 25-54 age groups, the declines are even larger: 42% and 46%, respectively.
The irony here is that the people objecting to Live PD would not be its watchers. It would be a Twitter mob ginned up by some AstroTurf group on the left.
Because Disney owns A&E, nothing will happen. Corporate America, particularly in the entertainment business, is one place where lack of vision and gutlessness is always rewarded. So the people who pulled the plug on Live PD and probably made A&E unprofitable in the bargain will undoubtedly be tapped for bigger and better-paying jobs because of their “principles.” Funny how these principles always involve destroying the value of companies and the careers of other people. Disney will probably fill the empty slot with a reality show about a pair of brave transgender child protective service officers rescuing toddlers from the homes of orthodox Christians and taking them to enjoy the blessings of liberty at a drag queen story hour at the local library to overcome the pain of pedophilia being unjustly criminalized. I can even think of the perfect host.