No More Cop-aganda: Paramount Network Cuts the Cord on Cops, America's Longest-Running Reality TV Show

Illustration for article titled No More Cop-aganda: Paramount Network Cuts the Cord on iCops/i, Americas Longest-Running Reality TV Show
Screenshot: Cops/Facebook

This is the kind of “cancel culture” you can get behind.

Paramount Network has decided to can Cops, which was scheduled to premiere its 33rd season on Monday, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

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Cops is not on the Paramount Network and we don’t have any current or future plans for it to return,” a spokesperson for the cable channel told THR.

Paramount Network, part of the ViacomCBS family, pulled the controversial show from its schedule after Black Lives Matter protests bloomed across the country following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25. It picked up the show (when the network was known as Spike TV) in 2013, before then, Cops had spent 25 seasons glorifying police—and police violence—on Fox.

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The show had been wildly popular for many years—becoming the longest-running reality show in TV history—and had a deep and pernicious impact on policing in America. But as police brutality has come to the forefront of the national consciousness in recent years, public attitudes toward shows like Cops and Live PD—the live version of Cops—have shifted. In 2019, the ethical concerns around the show became the subject of the investigative podcast Running from the Cops. Criminal justice reform activists have long called for the cancellation of these shows: In Tulsa, Okla., concerned citizens called on Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum to cancel the city’s contract with Live PD during the search process for its new police chief.

Live PD has been met with re-energized calls for cancellation after recent anti-police brutality protests have drawn new scrutiny of older cases of police violence; like the case of 40-year-old Javier Ambler, who died in police custody in Austin, Texas, last year. Ambler’s violent arrest—in which he was held down and tased multiple times by police, was filmed on Live PD.

According to THR, A&E pulled last week’s episodes of Live PD with a source telling the publication it was “unlikely” new episodes would broadcast on Friday and Saturday. In addition, another cop show, Body Cam, which airs on Discovery’s ID channel, has also been put on hold indefinitely.

Staff writer, The Root.

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DISCUSSION

I’m watching everybody and their moms saying that they didn’t watch COPS. That shit didn’t stay around for 33 years for the hell of it.