Who knew a reality TV series had so much pull? A&E found that out the hard way after it canceled Live PD last month, a show that shadows police officers as they work their beats. The Wall Street Journal reports that after the show was nixed on June 10, ratings for the network started taking a deep dive, with the average number of prime-time watchers between June 11 and July 19 coming in at 498,000—49% lower than during the same time period last year, per Nielsen data. The news was even worse among two targeted demographics: There was a 53% drop among the 25-54 age group, while the 18-49 set saw a 55% fall.
Before the show was canceled, the network was seeing a 4% rise in prime-time viewership compared with the same time last year. Forbes notes the show also spawned multiple spinoffs, and that all together, the Live PD franchise made up 85% of A&E's daily programming for the week at times. The network tells the Journal in a statement that it expected this "temporary hit in the ratings" after dumping Live PD, and that it will "find new hits and reinvent ourselves." Hopefully that will be the case, as the Live PD bundle brought in nearly $293 million in advertising last year for the network. (Read more A and E stories.)