Two years to the month that it was canceled by A&E following nationwide protests against police brutality, the reality show Live PD is set to return to production with a new name, a tweaked format and a new television home.
The program will now be called On Patrol: Live, and it will air on Reelz, the independent cable and satellite TV channel. While the title and format have been tweaked, it is from the same producers (Big Fish Entertainment), and will be familiar to viewers of the original.
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“I have been advocating for the show to return for two years now, and it was just a question of finding the right partner,” host and executive producer Dan Abrams tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I have had a number of inquiries from a number of networks about the show, and what I would typically do is have a conversation and then pass it on to the Big Fish folks, and then we would talk about whether it made sense. There had been a couple of other interesting discussions, but this one ended up making the most sense for everyone.”
In addition to Abrams, Live PD regular Sean Larkin will appear on the show, joined by Curtis Wilson, who had appeared on a handful of Live PD episodes. Abrams says that the new show will also feature civilian ride-alongs and new police departments, which “fundamentally changes the fabric of the show.”
“In most ways, it is going to be a very similar type of show to the one that existed previously,” Abrams says.
Live PD was, at the time of its cancellation, a ratings juggernaut from A&E. In fact, the channel had ordered an additional 160 episodes of the series just two months before it was canceled. The decision to pull the show followed a similar move by Paramount Network to pull the long-running reality series Cops.
Both shows were canceled in the wake of protests stemming from the killing of George Floyd in the summer of 2020. At the time, executives told THR that the political environment, combined with concerns about keeping the crew safe in the field, meant that the show could not move forward.
Cops, as it happens, was revived last year at the Fox News streaming service Fox Nation, meaning that both shows at the heart of the controversy in 2020 will have returned to TV in one form or another.
Abrams argues that the focus on police departments should have made the show more important to keep on the air.
“I do think the environment has changed [since Live PD was canceled], but I don’t think that should have determined whether Live PD, or a show like it, what is now being called On Patrol: Live, should be on the air,” he says. “I think the more we talk about policing, the more we should want to watch police officers doing what they do. There was a conversation then about policing, there is a conversation now about policing, and as a result I think it is a good thing to have a lens on police departments.”
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