When Cops debuted in 1989, it was just after eight years of President Reagan and the War on Drugs. The pro-police atmosphere of the era lead to series like Law & Order (which premiered in 1990). Cops was one of the earliest reality series before such shows were a genre. These tweets about the Cops TV series being canceled decades after viewers mostly forgot about it is proof it was long past retirement age.
When Cops (which was stylized for years as "COPS") first arrived on TV, it was a phenomenon. Reality TV, which dates back to MTV's The Real World, would not debut until 1992. It was presented as a nitty-gritty look at the world of policing. There was foul language, blurred faces (and nudity), and often filled with clips edited to seemingly poke fun at the poverty-stricken criminals being taken down. There was nothing like it on TV at the time, and the nascent Fox network got a lot of polarizing attention for it, even if it mostly aired during the late-night slots and into the wee hours.
The show left Fox in 2013, moving to Spike TV. Spike was rebranded as The Paramount Network in 2018, but Cops played on, with the newest season concluding on May 11, 2020.
But after 31 years, the show has finally come to an end, with Paramount canceling it in the wake of the anti-police brutality protests. The show, which has glorified law enforcement with its "Bad Boys" theme for decades, is over.
And as far as Twitter is concerned, it's about time.
In fact, most viewers were shocked to discover Cops was still on the air at all. For all that ratings have been in a swan dive for broadcast since 2014, the Big Five (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and The CW), still command an awareness that cable channels like Spike (and Paramount) rarely manage, and most viewers had long lost track that the show was even still making new episodes.
But cop-based TV series are still a staple of TV. And despite the cancelation of Cops, most of the others likely aren't going anywhere anytime soon.
Still, it's good to see this relic go off the air. One can only hope the A&E knock-off, Live P.D., follows suit.
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