“Cops” Will No Longer Air On Paramount Network

The ViacomCBS-owned cabler is taking the show off their schedule for good.

In the wake of nationwide protests, Paramount Network has recently made a decision to pull the plug on Cops, a long-running TV serious that was slated to make a return on Monday. The ViacomCBS-owned cabler had previously removed the documentary-style crime program from its schedule as the protests following the police-involved death of George Floyd have erupted all over the country. Now, the network is canceling the show for good.

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. 

Cops launched on Fox in 1989, making a big splash at the time; in 2013, Spike TV —Paramount Network’s predecessor — has picked up the series after it ended a 25-season run on Fox. The show’s 33rd season was originally due for a June 15 premiere on Paramount. No episode was released since at least June 1 as protests against police brutality and systematic racism continued across the country.

Old episodes of the reality TV series are still available on WGN America and Pluto TV, a streaming service also owned by ViacomCBS. WGN America is not planning to renew its right to the show once they expire at the end of June, while Pluto TV’s commitment will remain active.

Acting in unison, A&E has also pulled last week’s episodes of Live PD, a show that follows law enforcement officers on patrol in real time; it’s been a tremendous hit for the network since the October 2016 premiere. 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 mentioned that its similar show, Body Cam, is also off the schedule for the foreseeable future.

Over the years, Cops received a lot of criticism from civil rights groups and the media for the way it depicts suspects and police tactics. In 2004, a paper examining episodes was published in the peer-reviewed Western Journal of Communication; researchers concluded that the show disproportionately showed people of color as perpetrators of serious crimes. In 2013, a civil rights group Color of Change launched a campaign urging Fox to drop the show — which it ultimately did later in the year. In 2019, a podcast called Running From Cops 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. 

More recently, TV industry figures who profited from the production and distribution of law enforcement reality series have stepped forward and made considerable donations to support the Black Lives Matter movement and push back against police brutality.

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