After 32 seasons on the air, Cops has been canceled at Paramount Network. The wildly popular law-enforcement reality TV show, which has been the subject of plenty of criticism over the years for its glorification of police aggression, has finally been canned by Paramount Network after the network pulled it from its schedule amid global protests against police brutality sparked by the killing of George Floyd.
Variety reports that Cops has officially been canceled at Paramount Network. The news comes four days after the network pulled the season 33 premiere of the law-enforcement reality show from its schedule, amid anti-police brutality protests sweeping the world following the killing of George Floyd by Minnesota police officers. Now Paramount Network, which has been the home of the series since picking up the rights from Fox in 2013, has permanently axed Cops.
“Cops is not on the Paramount Network and we don’t have any current or future plans for it to return,” a Paramount Network spokesperson said in a statement.
Originally launched on Fox in 1989, Cops was one of the earliest forays into reality TV and became a national sensation for its cheaply made, documentary-style filmmaking that hooked viewers with scenes of intense foot chases, prostitution busts, and drug-house raids. But just as quickly as it became a national hit, it came under fire for its glorification of police aggression and its implicit “justification of racial profiling,” according to a 2004 research paper by the Western Journal of Communication, which observed that Cops disproportionately showed people of color as perpetrators of crimes.
A recent podcast hosted by Dan Taberski, Running From Cops, also went into detail about the shady behind-the-scenes tactics of the show, including coercing people into signing waivers and allowing police to edit and remove anything that would paint them in a negative light.
But despite the years of criticism, Cops kept going strong on late-night TV for decades, airing on Fox for 25 seasons and moving to Spike TV in 2013 (which was then rebranded as Paramount Network in 2018).
However, TV networks and studios are now coming to terms with how television and media has helped shape and support systemic racism. Comedy shows using blackface have been pulled from streaming platforms, while Gone With The Wind is the subject of renewed debate about its glamorization of the Antebellum South. At the same time that Paramount Network pulled Cops, A&E has pulled the similar law-enforcement reality show Live PD from its schedule “out of respect for the families of George Floyd and others who have lost their lives.”
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