As New Season of ‘Nightwatch’ Set to Air, New Orleans Mayor’s Office Gets Contract Pulled
Fans of the A&E series 'Nightwatch' in Louisiana are eagerly awaiting the season premiere on September 6, 2023. The show, known for spotlighting the challenging and rewarding work of first responders, will once again focus on the EMS paramedics of New Orleans.
The A&E website offers a description of what viewers can expect from the upcoming season: “‘Nightwatch ’chronicles the sacrifice and heroic work of the first responders in New Orleans, a singular city filled with rich culture and a vibrant community... the medics of NOEMS take on the harrowing overnight shift to keep the residents and visitors of New Orleans safe.”
However, excitement over the forthcoming season is already tainted with uncertainty. A recent Verite News article has highlighted potential challenges for the series, stemming from the decision to withdraw a proposed five-year city contract with 44 Blue Productions, the company behind 'Nightwatch'.
Officials have raised concerns about the show potentially sensationalizing medical crises and potentially infringing upon privacy and consent protocols. The withdrawal of the contract was initiated by New Orleans City Councilmember Oliver Thomas, upon the request of Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s office.
Councilmembers Helena Moreno and JP Morrell have expressed worries that the show could be exploiting vulnerable city residents by emphasizing violent incidents and addiction-related events. Moreno stated, “I’m hoping that this type of show, where you’re really exploiting the trauma of people in our city, won’t go forward.”
In defense of the show, EMS Chief Bill Salmeron emphasized the show's capacity to celebrate the heroism of first responders and voiced optimism about future episodes. Production company 44 Blue, meanwhile, has stressed their commitment to respecting the privacy and wishes of those they film. Co-founder and “Nightwatch” producer, Rasha Drachkovitch stated in an email to city councilmembers, “If someone does not want to be filmed — we respect their privacy and don’t include them.”
However, previous controversies surrounding other 44 Blue reality productions, such as “The First 48”, “Lockup”, and “Jailbirds”, have added to the debate.
While the upcoming season is on the brink of release, suggesting that the majority of episodes have already been filmed and edited, the future of 'Nightwatch' in New Orleans remains a topic of discussion.
For now, all indicators, including the show’s official website, suggest that fans can anticipate viewing the vibrant city of New Orleans in the coming season. However, whether 'Nightwatch' will continue to call the city home in subsequent seasons remains to be seen.