Mixed Feelings as Paramount Network Cancels the Classic 'COPS'

Posted: Jun 10, 2020 5:15 PM
Mixed Feelings as Paramount Network Cancels the Classic 'COPS'

Source: Screenshot via YouTube/Rusty Shackleford

UPDATE: "Live PD" has been cancelled as well.


"Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?" A classic opening line in the theme song for Paramount Network's TV show "COPS," which has been on the air since 1989. "COPS is filmed on location with the men and women of law enforcement," the narrator would say. "All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law."

It aired on Fox for 25 seasons, until it was picked up by Spike TV in 2013. Spike has since been renamed Paramount Network. Any kid who grew up in the 90s likely watched with their parents as the officers on the show tracked down drug dealers, domestic abusers and other criminals, sometimes with force. But, in the aftermath of the shocking police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and the riots that have ensued in its wake, Paramount Network has decided it would be best to cancel "COPS" 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 told Deadline.

The decision is rumored to have repercussions for the show "Live PD," which also follows officers in the line of duty. 

The news of "COPS's" demise resulted in mixed reviews.

"It is a very good show, and even though protests are going on, it shouldn't affect the show because even though there are bad seeds in every walks of life, entertaining shows such as this should continue," one Deadline commenter said of COPS.

"Great job A&E pulling one of the best shows you have. Good luck. Hoping you don't screw over Live PD too," another fumed.

On the other end of the debate, others say good riddance.

"More concerned about a TV show you like to watch than the cruelty the show encourages and promotes," said one commenter. "SMDH."

Other critics argued that "COPS" too often "glorified police" and "unfairly" portrayed the criminals they targeted.

Paramount isn't the only network to say goodbye to classics that are suddenly now controversial. HBO Max has removed the epic "Gone With the Wind" from its movie library. The 1939 classic starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh is considered one of the best films ever made, but critics take issue with its portrayal of African-Americans. The network took those hesitations into account, particularly in light of George Floyd's death.

"'Gone With the Wind' is a product of its time and depicts some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that have, unfortunately, been commonplace in American society," a spokesperson for HBO Max said in a statement. "These racist depictions were wrong then and are wrong today, and we felt that to keep this title up without an explanation and a denouncement of those depictions would be irresponsible."

He added that the film would eventually return, but with some added context.

I doubt movie fans will "stop being outraged."