Paramount Network has decided to stop airing ‘Cops’ for good.
The ViacomCBS-owned cabler had removed the long-running show from its schedule in the wake of nationwide protests following the police-involved death of George Floyd on May 25. Now, the network says it’s dropping the show altogether.
“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.
Paramount Network’s forerunner, Spike TV, picked up Cops in 2013 after it ended a 25-season run on Fox. The series continued following the 2018 rebranding of the channel as Paramount Network, which also had syndication rights to many past seasons.
Old episodes of Cops currently air on WGN America and the ViacomCBS-owned streaming service Pluto TV. WGN America’s commitment to the show expires at the end of June and the cable network, owned by Nexstar, doesn’t plan to renew it, sources told The Hollywood Reporter. The Pluto TV channel remains active, however.
The show’s 33rd season had been schedule to premiere on Monday, but no episode has aired on Paramount Network since at least June 1 as protests against police brutality and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement continued across the country.
A&E also pulled last week’s episodes of Live PD — which also follows officers on patrol, albeit in real time. A source told THR that new episodes Friday and Saturday are “unlikely,” although A&E is still evaluating things. A spokesperson for Discovery’s ID channel says its similar show, Body Cam, is also off the schedule for the foreseeable future.
Paramount Network is gradually moving away from unscripted programming, sources told THR, although it still has several such shows on its schedule, including the Ink Master franchise and Bar Rescue. Both are also holdovers from the Spike TV era.
Cops has faced scrutiny over the years for the way it depicts suspects and police tactics. A podcast called Running From Cops detailed how officers would sometimes coerce subjects into signing releases to be filmed for the show, and that crewmembers have carried weapons and assisted police.
It’ll be interesting to see how the entertainment industry reacts to an anti-police society. With shows like ‘L.A.’s Finest’ being paused and ‘Cops’ being canceled altogether, will other cop-based dramas survive?