Is Dan Abrams’ “Court Cam” Realistic?

March 19, 2021
Filed under: Blog,Law&Crime,Writing — Tags: , — Editorial Staff @ 4:14 pm

Oklahoma defense attorney, Adam Banner, came across A&E’s Court Cam one afternoon while flipping channels. Immediately intrigued by the show’s opener, Banner had to tune in and discover for himself what Court Cam was all about.

First aired on A&E in December 2019, Court Cam gives viewers an inside look into America’s craziest and most outrageous courtroom moments. Hosted by ABC’s chief legal analyst, Dan Abrams, each episode combines interviews of judges, witnesses, victims, etc. with actual footage to provide a behind-the-scenes look of what happened in the courtroom. Wanting to judge for himself if Court Cam was realistic, Banner sat down in front of the tv and watched. In a column for the ABA Journal, Banner discussed his thoughts.

“One has to approach Court Cam with an understanding of what they’re in for” Banner wrote, “extreme instances of extreme behavior in courtrooms across the nation.” However extreme does not mean unrealistic. “Absurd things do happen in courthouses reasonably regularly,” Banner notes after discussing an episode in which an Oklahoma man entered a courthouse without any pants. In fact, Banner could recall two separate instances of his own in which defendants had defecated in the courtroom hallway.

While outrageous moments such as “a defendant trying to sing his way to a lighter sentence” or “another lighting up a joint in open court” are fun to watch, “the series doesn’t simply recount the ridiculous,” Banner writes. A segment covering a defendant attacking his attorney in open court was followed by an interview with said attorney. This interview provided a nice touch that Banner believes “added an interesting level of reality” to the story.

Defendants aren’t the only ones featured on Court Cam. Many of the show’s segments feature the victims and family members who are dealing with the aftermath of traumatic crimes. “The majority of episodes deal with “revenge” by someone who feels they have been wronged.” This reflects what Banner believes to be “a common thread that weaves all these players together: the despair that results from losing something of value.”

Court Cam episodes play out in a formulaic way. After the episode’s opening, the viewer is greeted by host Dan Abrams who sets up “the place and procedural posture of the problem that follow.” Banner notes Abrams’ “commentary is measured and not too overbearing,” and he “does a great job of relaying the necessary facts in a way that keeps the audience engaged without becoming too distracting.” Because the show itself “isn’t set in any specific location,” Banner notes the producers have the advantage of cherry-picking “the most outrageous instances of bad behavior it can find.”

Overall, whether the story focuses on a loss that is “one’s freedom due to his or her own actions or losing a loved one due to the actions of another,” Bannon believesCourt Cam does an admirable job of showing the extreme examples of human emotions that play out—to one degree or another—every day in courthouses all across America.”

New episodes of Court Cam air on  on Wednesdays at 9/8 central on A&E. You can read Adam Banner’s full column on the ABA Journal’s site here.

Court Cam Renewed for Second Season by A&E

January 31, 2020
Filed under: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — Editorial Staff @ 9:15 pm

Dan Abrams’ latest collaboration with A&E has been picked up for a second season following a wildly successful first one, the Wrap reported Thursday. The show explored the sometimes wild side of America’s criminal courts and showed the stories behind these moments. By interviewing the judges, lawyers, and defendants involved, Dan was able to guide the audience through enthralling stories.

The first season boasted 2 million total viewers per episode and earned its title of A&E’s number 1 new series for 2019. Deadline reported that it was the “#1 cable show on Thursday nights among Adults 25-54.” 

The ratings success has resonated with the network. Elaine Frontain Bryant, executive VP and head of programming, A&E Network, said, “This series is a prime example of the type of eye-opening programming that A&E strives to deliver. Following the success of its first season, we are looking forward to continuing this journey with Dan Abrams as we further our exploration of all facets of the criminal justice system.”

The show is being produced by Law&Crime Productions, the production team associated with Dan Abrams’ 24/7 trial streaming service, Law&Crime Network. The show’s executive producers on Law&Crime Production’s team are Dan Abrams, Rachel Stockman and Paul Tinelli. Shelly Tatro and Sean Gottlieb serve as executive producers for A&E Network.
The second season is currently in production and a premiere date has not yet been released. You can catch up on season one at aetv.com.

Bloomberg Businessweek Sees Live PD as Cable’s Future

August 22, 2019
Filed under: Blog,Writing — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Editorial Staff @ 2:44 pm

Bloomberg Businessweek reported yesterday on Live PD’s success despite the new media landscape of streaming websites. Amidst reports of stagnation of cable’s audience Bloomberg reports, “The show, now in its third season, is often the No. 1 program on American cable TV on Friday and Saturday nights. A&E is one of only two cable channels to show growth in 18-to-49-year-old viewers since September 2018, along with TLC.” Bloomberg credits this success to the “irresistible content” that blends the time tested genre of police shows with high-paced, real time footage of the police. 

This new formula is paving the way in new content creation. According to Bloomberg, “A&E, jointly owned by Walt Disney Co. and Hearst Corp., runs six hours of new Live PD episodes a week. There are hours more of reruns and seven spinoffs, including Live PD Presents: Women on Patrol and Live Rescue, which focuses on firefighters and other first responders. Top Dog, which features police dogs competing on an obstacle course, is set to make its debut in the fall.” This has resulted in the shift away from more traditional scripted material, “Says A&E President Paul Buccieri: ‘We think we’ve struck a real opportunity with live unscripted storytelling.’”

This rings true not just for TV execs, but also the police featured on Live PD. Richland County is featured on Live PD, and their sheriff reports, “The department gets fan mail and job inquiries from across the country, he says. Some 5,000 fans came to Columbia, the county’s largest city, for a celebration of the 200th episode in April. ‘I think Live PD is the future of law enforcement.’” The show’s host, Dan Abrams, told Bloomberg, “‘I think that more people in other parts of the country are probably touched by law enforcement, they have friends, relatives that are in some ways connected to it.’” 

Live PD airs Friday and Saturdays at 9PM on A&E.