Sad news for fans of corporate copaganda today, as two cable networks—A&E and Paramount—have both announced that they’re pulling long-running Reno 911! parody fodder Cops, and its depressingly well-rated spiritual successor, LivePD, from their schedules this weekend. Per THR, the news comes as anti-racism, anti-police-violence protests continue to maintain momentum throughout America, which is presumably making the hard work of cherry-picking moments where police officers don’t look like abusive gym teachers armed with military hardware even harder than it usually is.
Live PD is, infamously, one of the most watched shows on television, updating the Cops formula by broadcasting (mostly) live footage from embedded camera teams doing police ride-alongs in in cities throughout America. A&E’s most-watched show, the series has been accused, like Cops before it, of encouraging officers to harass or repeatedly “check up on” people they know will make for “good TV,” and of spinning events in the interest of shoring up “cops are the real heroes” narratives. (Cops has also been accused of playing fast and loose with getting people’s permission to broadcast their faces and identities, something Live PD simply skips by claiming to be a live journalism program.)
And honestly, we’d be kind of fascinated to see what an episode of Live PD would even look like in this current climate—even if recent events have proven that the presence of cameras typically does precisely jack and shit in terms of making officers think twice before escalating force or potentially abusing their authority. (That being said, it would be fascinating to see what a TV show looks like when the people filming it are constantly getting tear-gassed for the crime of recording said events.) Alas, it’s not to be: A&E will instead air reruns of LivePD’s sister series, Live Rescue, which focuses on fire departments and emergency rescue squads instead of cops—most of which don’t even have tear gas or assault rifles, for some unimaginable reason.
Paramount hasn’t commented on the scheduling change, but A&E released a statement today: “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.” The show is still scheduled to be broadcast on June 12 and 13th.
Looking for ways to advocate for Black lives? Check out this list of resources by our sister site Lifehacker for ways to get involved.