Get Woke, Sometimes Go Broke

“Get woke, go broke” is a refrain that I learned at InstaPundit. Unfortunately, it often isn’t true. See, e.g., Nike and Starbucks. Happily, though, broke does sometimes follow woke. A case in point is the Arts and Entertainment cable network.

The only reason I know about the TV show “Live PD” is that my daughters watch it obsessively. Or used to, anyway: A&E canceled “Live PD” after the George Floyd riots. What was wrong with “Live PD”? It played nothing but actual footage of police officers in action: going on patrol, making stops, chasing suspects who make a run for it, and so on. It was pure reality TV. As such, it conveyed some uncomfortable facts. The police officers were nearly always polite and professional. The people they came into contact with were often dangerous, devious, high on drugs, and professionally criminal. The police almost always looked good, and some of them became mini-cult heroes. A lot of these police officers were black.

You can see how the raw reality portrayed by “Live PD” was at odds with the fictitious narrative of police brutality that is mandatory ideology in today’s corporate board rooms. A&E is co-owned by Disney and Hearst, so “Live PD” was doomed. The corporate suits canceled “Live PD” on June 10.

But “Live PD” was by far the most popular program on A&E. The Wall Street Journal describes the effect of its cancellation:

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 show, which follows police on their rounds in multiple cities simultaneously, averaged about 1.9 million viewers for its Friday and Saturday night episodes, repeatedly re-aired on other days. It spawned several successful spinoff shows, also canceled.

Most people naively assume that corporate executives are concerned more or less exclusively with their companies’ profitability. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Many CEOs, likely most, care more about their standing within their (mostly liberal) peer group than about their shareholders’ returns. Toeing the left-wing line on issues like policing, that do not seriously impact corporate executives themselves, is a cheap way to gain plaudits at the country club.

Happily, such feckless pursuit of self-gratification is sometimes punished. As in this case, where A&E stupidly canceled its most popular program–by far–so that its viewership is now down by 50%. It would be nice if some liberal A&E, Disney and Hearst executives saw their incomes drop by 50%, but don’t hold your breath.

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