A&E has made the decision to stop running new episodes of the documentary series “Live PD” in the wake of ongoing protests over the death of George Floyd. At the same time, Paramount Network has also decided to delay premiering the 33rd season of “Cops,” which was set to resume on Monday, June 8. The news, as originally reported by Variety, arrives on what would have been the 27th birthday of Breonna Taylor, whose wrongful death at the hands of police brutality on March 13 is also fueling protests.
Instead of new episodes of “Live PD,” which has aimed to offer a transparent view of law enforcement across its four seasons, A&E will air “Live Rescue,” a documentary series about paramedics and firefighters, in its place. “Live PD” has repeatedly been cable’s number-one most-watched show on Friday and Saturday nights.
“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.
“Cops” was set to air at 10 p.m. ET on Monday, but Paramount Network’s programming schedule has instead slotted “Ghostbusters” in its place. “Cops” did not air this past Monday either, and no mention of the long-running series, which has been on television since 1989, can now be found on the channel’s website. The reality series has long gone under fire for its controversial, and often sensationalistic, portrayal of American law enforcement in the field. For its first 25 seasons, “Cops” aired on Fox before Spike TV (now Paramount Network) scooped the series up for more episodes. As much as the show jumpstarted the current wave of reality TV fixation among American audiences, it’s also been the subject of much debate for how it portrays police.
IndieWire reached out for comment from Paramount Network, who confirmed that parent company ViacomCBS has no plans to put “Cops” back on air at this stage. The pause in programming comes as Paramount Network begins to shift away from all unscripted programming.
Paramount Network is owned by ViacomCBS, who made headlines earlier in the week when the company ran eight minutes and 46 seconds of silence in honor of George Floyd. That’s the amount of time that Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck before he died.