AUSTIN, Texas (KXAN) — A canceled A&E Network law enforcement reality show is coming back after its cancellation, which came after both an in-custody death that was filmed and calls for accountability in policing. According to The Hollywood Reporter, “Live PD” will return to production, but with a new name, a tweaked format and on another channel.
The show will be called “On Patrol: Live,” THR says. It’s set to air on Reelz, a cable and satellite TV channel. It will feature the same producers, Big Fish Entertainment, and the same host, Dan Abrams.
A&E Network canceled the show in 2020, a little over a year after the death of Javier Ambler in March 2019. Deputies in Williamson County, Texas tried pulling Ambler over for failing to dim his headlights but a 22-minute chase into the Austin city limits ensued. Deputies deployed their tasers on Ambler, and body cam footage shows him telling them he couldn’t breathe.
“Live PD” crews filmed the interaction and Ambler died about an hour later at the hospital. While the scene was never shown on TV, the footage – and its later deletion – raised major questions for both area lawmakers and many nationwide, especially as calls for change in policing swept the U.S. following George Floyd’s in-custody murder.
The deputies who responded to the incident, James Johnson and Zachary Camden, were indicted in relation to the incident. Former Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody was arrested by his own department last March, as was former county general counsel Jason Nassour. Chody and Nassour face criminal charges of conspiracy to tamper with video evidence of Ambler’s death.
Whether the new version of the show returns to Williamson County remains unknown. As it stands now, county officials said they haven’t seen anything contract-wise or anything like that.
“Nothing has come before the Commissioners Court on this and the Commissioners Court approves all contracts,” the county’s statement said.
Both Chody and Nassour denied any wrongdoing concerning the footage, which Big Fish Entertainment said was destroyed 30 days after filming, as all unused footage had been under the show contract. Big Fish Entertainment later filed a lawsuit against WCSO, saying they unlawfully confiscated footage. The company alleges WCSO’s action pushed a false narrative in the media that WCSO owned the footage and that Big Fish was “stonewalling” the investigation even though WCSO didn’t request the footage for investigation for at least a year.
Following the show’s cancellation, Abrams expressed a desire to bring back the show. The cancellation of “Live PD” came shortly after Paramount Network announced cancellation of its 33-season-running “COPS.”