‘Live PD’ Producers and Reelz Sued By A&E Over ‘On Patrol: Live’

by Chris Piner

Back in March of 1989, Fox decided to premiere a new hit series showcasing the dangerous and sometimes outlandish situation police officers find themselves in. For over the last 30 years, COPS accumulated more than a faithful following as it is currently on its 33rd season on Fox Nation. With over 1,100 episodes of the series, other shows revolving around the same idea sprouted up on other networks. One series, produced by the A&E Network called Live PD, ran from 2016 until 2020. Although Live PD became a hit for the network, due to the criticism surrounding police brutality and the killing of George Floyd, A&E decided to cancel both the show and host Dan Abrams. But now, moving to Reelz and renamed, On Patrol: Live, hosted by Abrams apparently is causing waves with the late network A&E.

While it has been two years since A&E decided to cancel the show, with Reelz continuing the story, it seems that the original network is suing both the producers of the show and Reelz for “Brazen Theft.” According to a copyright complaint, “Without any authorization from AETN, Big Fish [the show’s former producer] created a clone of Live PD featuring the same primary hosts, content, format, segments, and more, and sold that virtually identical show to Reelz, a cable network seeking its first breakout hit, which then aired the show over AETN’s repeated and vociferous objections.”

Live PD Highest-Rated Show On Cable

With A&E suggesting that Reelz stole their idea and show, the network demanded that On Patrol: Live stop production immediately. Again, during its run on A&E, Live PD dominated cable with it being one of the highest-rated series.

As the lawsuit moves in front of a jury and judge, the firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLC explained that the producers and Reelz purposely misled viewers. “Defendants intentionally have confused the public into believing that On Patrol: Live is Live PD and is associated with AETN’s brand. Defendants and Live PD’s former principals openly and repeatedly have referred to Live PD as ‘returning’ and ‘coming back’ on Reelz. These public statements were not gaffes or misstatements; they were part and parcel of Defendants’ bad-faith strategy of capitalizing on AETN’s reputation, trading on AETN’s goodwill, and passing off On Patrol: Live as the same product as Live PD.”

To make the lawsuit even more confusing, the production company behind On Patrol: Live, Big Fish, currently has a deal with A&E for Court Night Live, which debuted on August 10. Still, the network moves forward with the lawsuit. Other than Live PD, the premise led to nine different spin-offs including Live PD: Wanted, Live Rescue, Live PD Presents: Women on Patrol, and a podcast, PD Stories