Often times, if a TV series is fortunate, it wil gain extraordinary popularity in its earlier years. But eventually, the buzz fizzles, the show airs a couple of lower-rated seasons and is inevitably cancelled. Or it finishes out on its own terms and lives on through reruns, Netflix or in the hearts and minds of nostalgic pop culture lovers and TV fanatics. And then there are the shows that just keep going and going (and going.) Shows like The Simpsons and CSI, for example. But you know those are on the air, even if you aren't watching them regularly. Others seem to slip through the cracks, returning season after season but no longer receiving the kind of attention or relevance they once had in the public eye.
At one point in time, everyone was talking about Jerry Springer and that funny home video show with the guy from Full House. Water cooler chatter for shows like those may have died down a bit since the 90s, and yet, The Jerry Springer Show is still on the air, as is America's Funniest Home Videos. Those are just two of the listed series you might not realize are still on the air...
Remember the Writers Guild strike of 1988? Cops creators John Langley and Malcom Barbour certainly do. Thanks to the lack of writers, their (at the time) strange idea for a network reality show following law enforcement personnel was taken seriously by the network. Twenty-five seasons and almost nine hundred episodes later, the program is still on the air and shockingly, very little about the original format has been altered. As with the early episodes, the show still employs cameramen who run with the officers, still employs squad car interviews and still prefers splitting the action into three distinct parts.
Despite its indulgent and goofy theme song, Cops has never been a particularly flashy show. Since 1989, it has run on Saturday nights, which for a program like Smash might be a kiss of death but for one like Cops is right in its wheelhouse. Over the years, its popularity has ebbed and flowed but its core audience has never left, which is why Fox really doesn’t advertise new episodes with much vigor and many outside the target demographic are unaware new episodes are even being produced. Considering its currently syndicated on three different networks, CW, TruTV and G4, that’s actually understandable too.
Cops might be a bit trashy, a bit low budget and a bit out of place amidst Fox’s more glamorous shows, but there’s something about its basic format that just works.