It's been two years since A&E canceled Live PD amid nationwide protests against police brutality following the death of George Floyd. Now the show has been renamed, reframed, and rebooted on the cable channel Reelz.
Titled On Patrol: Live, the Live PD reboot will be slightly different from the original, but according to host and executive producer Dan Abrams, "In most ways, it is going to be a very similar type of show to the one that existed previously."
Abrams told The Hollywood Reporter that he has been "advocating" for the show's return in the two years since its cancellation, explaining, "It was just a question of finding the right partner." Producers received "a number of inquiries from a number of networks," but ultimately, Abrams and production company Big Fish Entertainment felt Reelz made "the most sense for everyone."
Like its predecessor, On Patrol: Live will focus on law enforcement via live footage. However, Abrams said that the addition of things like showcasing civilian ride-alongs and new police departments "fundamentally changes the fabric of the show."
Efforts to distance itself from the original are no doubt due to the political and ethical concerns regarding police brutality. When Live PD was canceled, executives cited the political environment and safety of A&E's crew in the field. However, even before police brutality became a central issue in America, Live PD was surrounded by controversy. In 2019, the crew of the show was found to have been filming when a Black man named Javier Ambler died in custody after Austin, Texas police stopped him for a traffic violation. It was later revealed that the footage was destroyed.
As for whether a show like On Patrol: Live has a place on television now, Abrams says "the environment has changed" since 2020. "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 added. "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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Kirstie Renae is a writer, blogger, and Austin-based actress with a penchant for binge-watching TV with her dogs. Follow her on Twitter @KirstieRenae.
TOPICS: Live PD, A&E, Reelz, On Patrol: Live, Dan Abrams, George Floyd