Former hit A&E series “Live PD” was cancelled in June 2020 amid protests following the murder of George Floyd by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Simultaneously, the show faced a major controversy of its own when it came out that in 2019 “Live PD” filmed — and eventually destroyed — footage of a man dying in police custody.
At the time, producers expressed regret over the destruction of the unaired footage but explained it was standard practice to do so after the investigation into the incident was closed. In addition to the video captured by “Live PD” cameras, there was also footage available to investigators via the police officers’ body cams.
IndieWire asked a spokesperson for the producers of “On Patrol: Live” if the internal policy about keeping (and not keeping) footage has been changed for this version of the program. We did not immediately receive a response.
“Live PD” was A&E Network’s highest-rated show, by far, before its abrupt cancellation. The series frequently topped all of cable in its Saturday-night time slot, and occasionally reached nearly 2.5 million viewers on a Friday night.
The “Live PD” cancellation followed Paramount Network’s own cancellation of the long-running “Cops.” At the time, civil rights organizations targeted reality programs like “Live PD” that showcased the day-to-day actions of law enforcement.
“On Patrol: Live,” which is technically a working title, will premiere this summer. The live show will again air Friday and Saturday nights, running from 9 p.m. ET to midnight ET on Reelz. “On Patrol: Live” will be produced by Half Moon Pictures, a new production arm under the “Live PD” producer Big Fish Entertainment’s banner. Half Moon is focused on crime and investigative content.
“Law enforcement is front and center in the national discussion, and our hope is that showing the work of police officers in a live format will provide viewers with direct access to the work they do,” Abrams said in a press release announcing the return. “I’m thrilled our team is finally back together and excited that Reelz has committed to making this show front and center on their network.”
Abrams will host the live show alongside Sgt. Sean “Sticks” Larkin, a retired Tulsa Police Department lieutenant with nearly 25 years of service, and Deputy Sheriff Curtis Wilson, the division commander with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department in Columbia, South Carolina. Both were Larkin and Wilson were veterans of A&E’s “Live PD.”
Police departments and sheriff’s offices featured on “On Patrol: Live” will be announced in the coming weeks, producers and Reelz said in this morning’s news release.
In addition to the cops’ work, “On Patrol: Live” will also feature local residents doing ride-alongs, and will invite those citizens into the studio to share their experiences “all in an effort to promote transparency,” the press release said. “Transparency” was a main theme of the announcement, which also included a quote from the division commander with the Lawrence Police Department in Lawrence, Indiana (so, maybe pencil that one in for “On Patrol: Live”), as well as from a member of a volunteer community group “established to increase professional competence and public accountability at the Richland County Sheriff’s Department” in South Carolina.
“We’ve been in contact with Half Moon for some time and strongly believe that Reelz is the perfect home for “On Patrol: Live,” which will add to our network as the cornerstone of our commitment to commissioning brand-defining, must-see original programming,” Stan E. Hubbard, the CEO of Reelz, said in the release. “With the collective talent assembled, we know we are working with the best, most experienced team there is to produce this type of series and together we will do everything in our power to earn the trust and loyalty of viewers excited for this show.”
Hubbard and Reelz have committed to a “significant” episode guarantee, according to the press release.