ViacomCBS is cutting ties with Big Fish Entertainment, the MGM-owned shingle behind A&E’s recently canceled “Live PD.” A&E is not a ViacomCBS network, but ViacomCBS did run shows from Big Fish including VH1’s “Cartel Crew,” “Black Ink Crew,” “Black Ink Crew: Chicago,” “Love & Hip Hop Miami,” “Love & Hip Hop: New York” and “Love & Hip Hop Atlanta.” Big Fish had only recently become a producer on the “Love & Hip Hop” franchise.
Most recently, Big Fish produced the COVID-19-related special “Club MTV Presents #DanceTogether with D-Nice” for MTV.
“We have decided to end our relationship with Big Fish Entertainment and will be producing our shows in house at this time,” a ViacomCBS Entertainment & Youth Group spokesperson said in a statement. “We thank Big Fish for their past contributions and wish them the best.”
The news, coming on a Friday afternoon, surprised some industry observers, given that “Live PD” was an A&E matter, not a ViacomCBS one. Speculated one veteran producer: “They saw an opportunity to take a group of valuable shows produced by an outside producer and bring those shows in-house.” Others, however, said ViacomCBS’ decision to sever ties with Big Fish was only related to its involvement with “Live PD.”
Big Fish is also behind the newly launched series “Amy Schumer Learns to Cook” for Food Network, among other shows.
The news comes two days after A&E announced it would halt production on “Live PD,” A&E’s signature show. “Live PD” was a juggernaut for A&E, dominating cable ratings and spawning multiple spinoffs, including “Live PD: Wanted,” “Live PD: Police Patrol,” “Live PD Presents: PD Cam.”
Ultimately, after Paramount Network canceled “Cops” and controversy swirled over the death of Javier Ambler in Austin, which was captured (and later erased) by the A&E show, network execs there felt they had no choice but to pull “Live PD” off the air completely.