With Live PD, A&E promised their viewers an over-the-shoulder perspective on real police work – live. The formula was simple: A&E crews would follow police from around America, the crew would select the most exciting developing situations, and broadcast them live, with analysis and commentary from real police. Live PD quickly became A&E’s most popular show of all time—so popular, in fact, that on its abrupt cancellation in 2020, A&E viewership declined 49%.
For a show broadcasting the hard work of America’s police officers, respect for the law should be paramount. Ironically, A&E’s practices with the show were something else entirely. The Austin American Statesman found that when Live PD began following a suburban sheriff's department, high speed chases increased by over 50%, and use of force complaints nearly doubled. In 2019, when the show filmed police in that same department tase a man to death, someone destroyed the tapes.
A&E’s off-the-rails relationship with the law is reflected in their unlicensed use of BLKBK’s hand-painted font, Third Rail. Created with a brush, the texture of Third Rail evinces emotion as raw as the streets. Its posture suggests intensity, contained energy, and a readiness for action. The movement of its brush strokes, the unparalleled drama of reality. It's the perfect font for criminals.