When the Marxist mob used George Floyd’s death as an excuse to ramp up its ongoing war on policing, A&E instantly caved. That proved to be a costly decision. News broke Friday that the cable network has lost almost 50% of its viewers.
When it was founded back in 1984, the Arts & Entertainment Network was going to be a highbrow cable show, focusing on fine arts, documentaries, and dramas, many imported from Britain. A generation of women remembers being introduced to Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy in A&E’s Pride and Prejudice. This high brow fare, though, wasn’t bringing in revenue. By 2002, the station had shifted to reality series for younger viewers.
In 2016, A&E created Live PD. The show follows police departments across America and audiences loved it. According to Wikipedia,
In 2018, a survey by Inscape found Live PD to be the most-watched program among non-live (DVR and VOD) and over-the-top viewers in 2018. The series was credited with having reversed a decline in viewership experienced by A&E since the end of Duck Dynasty; Live PD was among the most-watched programs on cable television. [Footnotes and hyperlinks omitted.]
Indeed, Live PD was frequently the most-watched cable program on both Friday and Saturday nights.
Live PD was a valuable franchise, one that gave Americans a chance to see police doing their day-to-day work. Viewers got a chance to learn that policing is not a cross between Beverly Hills Cop, the Simpson’s Chauncey Wiggums, and Hill Street Blues.
In May 2020, A&E ordered 160 new episodes of this cash cow. However, on June 6, A&E put the series on hold because of the anti-police riots. On June 9, the show’s host, Dan Abrams, was still tweeting out, “To all of you asking whether #LivePD coming back. . .The answer is yes. All of us associated with the show are as committed to it as ever.”
It took only one day for the show’s producers, working with co-owners, Disney Media Networks and Hearst Communications, to make a liar out of Abrams (and, incidentally, in a time of virus shutdowns and economic loss, to wipe out the jobs of all the people who worked on the show).
A&E gave the perfect woke statement to justify destroying the franchise:
This is a critical time in our nation’s history and we have made the decision to cease production on Live PD. Going forward, we will determine if there is a clear pathway to tell the stories of both the community and the police officers whose role it is to serve them. And with that, we will be meeting with community and civil rights leaders as well as police departments.
It later turned out that those working closely with the show didn’t want to cancel it. However, cancel culture ruled the day. The Paramount Network had already canceled its long-running Cops show, which had an audience only a quarter the size of Live PD’s. A&E executives decided that, rather than standing on principle, it too had to bow down to the mob. Even worse for A&E, it also canceled all of Live PD’s successful spinoffs.
As more people and companies are learning, when you bow to the mob, you pay the price. In this case, it turned out that the Marxist mob wasn’t part of the A&E audience. As for the people who actually watched the show, when A&E canceled Live PD and its spinoff progeny, they had no reason to turn to that station. Their decision to abandon A&E cut A&E’s viewership in half:
Ratings for A&E Network have plummeted since it canceled the hit police reality show “Live PD” on June 10, a sign of how much the network relies on law-enforcement programming.
Average prime-time viewership for A&E between June 11 and July 19 was 498,000 people, down 49% from the same period last year, according to data from Nielsen. In the key demographics of adults 18-49 and 25-54, the declines are 55% and 53%, respectively.
The hemorrhage wasn’t limited to the cop shows that people like to watch:
A&E’s ratings declines go beyond prime time. Total daily average viewership in the weeks since the show was pulled is down 36% from a year earlier, to 319,000 people. In the 18-49 and 25-54 age groups, the declines are even larger: 42% and 46%, respectively.
When the audience vanishes, so does the money. A&E just kissed goodbye to around $292.6 million in advertising revenue, which is what the show brought in 2019. A&E was on track to an even better year in 2020. In the first quarter of 2020, it had earned $95.8 million in advertising money just for Live PD and its spinoffs.
Ever since the uber-leftists started pushing their agenda, corporations that caved have lost money. Like lemmings, though, in a frantic charge to insolvency other corporations have leaped off the same cliff despite the warning signs at the cliff’s edge saying, “Get woke, go broke.” One of these days, shareholders are going to start suing companies for these decisions.