Whether one completely supports American police officers or blankets them with blame for the recent string of black men being shot and killed by law enforcement, “Live PD” may alter your perspective — by providing a cop’s.
A&E’s upcoming live coverage of on-duty law officers strives to both entertain and educate. Oh, and it’s not just a live version of Fox’s former long-running hit “Cops,” in-studio anchor and ABC Newsman Dan Abrams assured TheWrap.
“This is a different time, it’s a different era,” Abrams said. “The way police do what they do is under the microscope. You’ve got people on the one side saying, ‘We need to be holding our police accountable.’ And you’ve got a lot of people who support the police saying they’re being ‘unfairly vilified.'”
“What this show does is it shows in real-time what they do,” he continued. “‘Cops’ was a most-salacious-moments of various police encounters. This is everything. This isn’t just a moment, two moments — this is as-it’s-happening, which I think is just a fundamentally different thing.”
“This isn’t a reality show,” Abrams (pictured above, left) added. “This is reality.”
So, what can viewers expect to actually happen, in reality?
Real-time rehearsals have yielded everything from shootings to serious traffic accidents — but cameras have also followed cops just driving around and performing routine traffic stops. Abrams and A&E are obviously at the mercy of what’s going on at airtime, but embedding themselves with crews like the Tulsa P.D. Gang Unit almost guarantees TV fireworks.
By the way, the “live” of “Live PD” is actually a bit misleading — there will be a delay, though A&E has yet to figure out the exact length.
The delay will be “brief,” a network rep said — not the traditional seven-to-30-seconds news delay, but “not an hour” either. That’s mostly for “privacy issues,” Abrams told us — though surely there are some levels of violence that wouldn’t pass the frantic censors’ litmus test.
Logistically, “Live PD” will follow six police departments per episode; producers currently have more than a dozen aboard. Those calling the shots from the control room tell us that about 50 percent of the departments they approached agreed to participate, with the other half declining. That’s probably pretty understandable these days.
Abrams, who has personally endorsed body cameras for cops and calls “Live PD” the concept’s “natural extension,” will anchor the NFL RedZone “highlight”-style series in studio, with two Dallas police detectives providing color commentary.
Whether or not “Live PD” hands A&E strong Nielsen numbers, expect social media to spark a conversation on the divisive topic — and that’s kind of the whole point.
“Live PD” premieres October 28 on A&E and will air Friday nights from 9-11 p.m. ET.