It remains to be seen if the ongoing protests over tragic death of George Floyd will bring major changes to police departments across the nation. But they’ve already succeeded in pushing some TV crime-fighters off the screen.
The Paramount Network on Tuesday announced that it has canceled the long-running unscripted series “Cops.” The move follows an earlier decision by the cable network to pull episodes of the show off its schedule in response to the death of Floyd at the hands of police in Minnesota.
“Cops is not on the Paramount Network and we don’t have any current or future plans for it to return,” a network spokesperson said.
One of the longest-running shows on television, “Cops” premiered on Fox in 1989. Deploying a cinema verite, ride-along approach, the series follows city police officers and county sheriff’s deputies during patrols, calls for service, and other activities such as prostitution and narcotics stings.
Paramount Network’s forerunner, Spike TV, picked up “Cops” in 2013 after it ended a 25-season run on Fox. When Spike was rebranded as the Paramount Network in 2018, the series carried over to the new network. On Aug. 21, 2017, “Cops” celebrated its 1,000th episode with a live special hosted by Terry Crews.
The 33rd season of “Cops” had been scheduled to debut on Monday, but no episode has aired on Paramount Network since at least June 1, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“Cops” has faced criticism over the years for the way it depicts suspects and police tactics, and for turning police work into entertainment. A podcast called “Running From Cops” was the result of an 18-month investigation into the show and detailed how officers would sometimes coerce subjects into signing releases to be filmed for the show, and that crew members have carried weapons and assisted police.
Nearly 20 law enforcement agencies have cooperated with “Cops” over the years, including the Minneapolis Police Department. But several agencies have refused to participate.