Cops, the long-running reality show in which a camera crew follows real-life police officers on patrol, has been pulled from the schedule by Paramount Network and won’t be renewed. To be quite honest, I had no idea the show was even still on the air.
As reported by Variety, Paramount Network announced their decision in a statement from a spokesperson which read, “Cops is not on the Paramount Network and we don’t have any current or future plans for it to return.” The announcement came after the second week of nationwide protests against systemic racial police violence, triggered by brutal video footage of the death of George Floyd, who was killed in police custody. The protests themselves have been met with overwhelming displays of violence by law enforcement, resulting in hundreds of more videos of cops savagely assaulting unarmed people with little to no provocation. In other words, it’s the absolute worst time to be airing a show glorifying the police.
The decision to cancel Cops was the right one, but it’s a decision that should’ve been made decades ago. (Ideally, the show would never have been greenlit in the first place.) Cops originally premiered on Fox back in 1989 and ran for 25 seasons before moving over to Spike TV (now Paramount Network) in 2013. In my opinion, thanks to its reality show format, it might the single most damaging piece of television ever produced. If you can stomach it, watch a handful of reruns and marvel at how much work a single 22-minute installment does to dehumanize the community, particularly Black people and people of color. Multiply that by 30 years, and the impact Cops has had on normalizing police misconduct is incalculable. It’s entirely possible another network might swoop in and pick the show up, but until then, good fucking riddance.