Dan Abrams’ true-crime channel Law & Crime has struck a carriage deal with Dish Network, Variety has learned exclusively.
Live trial and 24/7 true-crime network Law & Crime, which recently aired national coverage of the Kyle Rittenhouse trial and the trial of Brett Hankison, a former police officer charged for his role at the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor, has now launched on Dish and is available to customers on Channel 252. The new distribution pact between Law & Crime and Dish increases the channel’s reach to more than 27 million households across the U.S., the Bahamas and Virgin Islands.
“We’ve had a deal with Sling for a number of years now and have always been aspiring to also be included in Dish,” Law & Crime founder, ABC News chief legal affairs anchor and NewsNation host Abrams told Variety. “And so this has been a number-of-years effort to add Dish to our roster of partners. We’re thrilled that it finally has come to fruition. This now brings our total reach to over 27 million cable households, which, in our view, puts us in the full cable network category, in addition to being on all the major OTT platforms: Sling, YouTube TV, Fubo, Roku, Philo, Samsung TV, etc.”
He continued: “But there still are advantages to being on classic cable, both from an advertising and a marketing perspective. So we’re really excited to be on a major provider like Dish now. And the other big provider that we have a deal with is Verizon. We’re also on the Comcast Xfinity system, as well. So this is a big development for us. In terms of trends, it just shows you that there really is this insatiable appetite for true crime. And I think we’re seeing that in every aspect of the the media business these days, from video on demand, podcasting and live, that true crime is a weatherproof genre.”
Last year, large station owner Tegna Inc. struck a multi-year pact with Law & Crime’s production arm, Law & Crime Productions, and Cineflix Rights to create original true-crime documentary series that utilize content from Tegna’s stations. The companies will launch their agreement with the production of 50 hourlong episodes, starting with a new series called “Cult Justice.”
“We recently signed a deal with Tegna to create 250 hours of programing with them. So the timing ends up being pretty good for us, in terms of having an expanded library of programing,” Abrams told Variety. “But, for example, we’ve been airing the show ‘Caught in Providence,’ which has done very well for us, which was a syndicated show about a great judge there. And we’re looking to, in addition to creating our own programing, we are also looking to partner with more outside production companies on existing programs or new programing as well.”
One potential existing — or rather, previously existing — program that Abrams would love to work on is a revival of hit reality crime series “Live PD,” which was hosted by Abrams until its cancellation at A&E in June 2020.
“I am very much hoping for the return of ‘Live PD,'” Abrams said. “Sadly, while Law & Crime has expanded significantly, we still don’t have the budget for a ‘Live PD.’ So you can count on the fact that I am continuing to push very hard for the return of ‘Live PD,’ and I’m still very confident that that’s going to happen in some way, shape or form. But sadly, I don’t think it’s going to be on the Law & Crime network today — meaning that you never know, in a couple of years from now, where we’ll be. But I know we’d need to be a bit larger to be able to afford a highly technical show like ‘Live PD.'”
Abrams says, should “Live PD” return, Law & Crime would be the ideal home — but maybe not realistic one.
“If it comes back, I want to see it on a network,” he said. “Obviously, in a perfect world, if Law & Crime were capable of taking ‘Live PD,’ that would be the best of both worlds for me, but it’s not realistic. So I’m focusing on the more realistic options for the return of ‘Live PD’ — or something like it.”
“Live PD,” which documented police officers on duty around the U.S., was canceled by A&E amid protests against police brutality and racism.
“I think any show that involves police will inevitably have people who are not happy about it, for whatever reason, that’s inevitable. At the time [‘Live PD’ was canceled], I said that I was disappointed that ‘Live PD’ was pulled from the air, and I think that time has shown that there is definitely a place for a show like it. As I say, I’m quite confident that there are going to be, and there already are, networks that would be very interested in bringing it back. And of course, there will always be people who either don’t want to watch it or people who are not happy.”
As for immediate plans for Law & Crime, Abrams says the timing of its launch on Dish ahead of TV upfront season isn’t a coincidence, but wasn’t forced: “We’ve already been sort of having quiet conversations about the expansion with some advertisers. And obviously the expansion to Dish is of real interest to them. But it’s not that there was a concerted decision made, we need to be out at the beginning of March. This was really just a question of the logistics and how the deal finally came together.”