In the aftermath of George Floyd's death in Minneapolis, protesters have marched and stood their ground in cities across the U.S., with the overarching goal of combatting violent policing methods and inspiring widespread police reform. The public unrest's effect on the current TV world has mostly been relegated to coverage featured on news programs and talk shows. However, it looks like cable channel Paramount Network decided to perhaps indefinitely postpone the upcoming season premiere for the popular series Cops, while A&E opted not to air new episodes of Live PD this past weekend.
Cops - Paramount Network
Cops was set to debut Season 33 on Paramount Network on Monday, June 8, but at the time of this writing, the channel's upcoming schedule no longer lists the premiere episode during the applicable time slot, or anywhere else for that matter. Paramount's entire primetime window that evening will be held by Ghostbusters, with the original 1984 film airing at 8:00 p.m. ET, to be followed by 1989's Ghostbusters II at 10:30 p.m. ET.
Not only are there no future mentions of Cops in Paramount's TV schedule, but also the show itself appears to have been scrubbed from the network's website. It's no longer accessible from the "Shows" page, and if one tries to access a still-cached episode page through Google, a "Page Not Found" screen comes up. Paramount also pre-empted the most recent airing of Cops on the previous Monday, though it wasn't then clear how extensive the delay might be.
Cops is one of the oldest reality TV series, and its maintained popularity speaks to viewers' interest in the sometimes controversial subject matter. However, the show has come under scrutiny in more recent years about behind-the-scenes allegations and , and Dan Taberski's informative podcast Running from Cops has shined more light on the show's sketchy editing decisions and how criminals sign waivers. The series moved from its longtime Fox home when it was picked up by then-Spike TV in 2013, five years ahead of the Paramount rebranding.
Neither Paramount nor its parent company ViacomCBS have publicly addressed the Cops situation to this point. The company did publicly address George Floyd's death that Monday when all of the ViacomCBS cable networks went dark for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, signifying the amount of time former officer Derek Chauvin had his knee on Floyd's neck, causing the latter's May 25 death.
Still, it's unclear if Cops' removal from the Paramount website is a sign that the show has been permanently cancelled, or if the network is just going above and beyond to create some separation between the current social climate and Cops. It's worth noting that the network faced a relatively similar situation with the TV adaptation of the violence-embracing film Heathers; after having initially delayed its 2018 premiere due to the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, Paramount aired a heavily re-edited version of the first season across five nights in October of the same year.
Live PD - A&E
Over at A&E, network execs made the decision to pull new episodes from Live PD from airing this past Friday and Saturday nights. As its replacement, viewers instead got to see episodes of Live Rescue. Here's A&E's statement on the schedule shake-up, according to Variety.
Out of respect for the families of George Floyd and others who have lost their lives, in consultation with the departments we follow, and in consideration for the safety of all involved, we have made the decision not to broadcast Live PD this weekend.
Unlike the Paramount situation with Cops, A&E hasn't completely severed all visual ties with Live PD, which is understandable, considering the four-year-old show is currently the most watched program in all of cable on Friday and Saturday nights. In fact, the network's schedule for Friday, June 12, and Saturday, June 13, both have Live PD back in the lineup at 9:00 p.m. ET on both evenings.
Live PD was one of many TV shows whose production schedule got delayed in response to the coronavirus pandemic. However, given its on-the-move filming style and lack of a crew-heavy set, the series started filming episodes again in April.
Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more updates on Cops' future at Paramount Network, as well as other ways the protests are shaking things up in Hollywood. While waiting to hear more, check out everything that will be hitting the small screen in the coming months – such as Paramount's hit drama Yellowstone Season 3 – with our Summer 2020 TV premiere schedule.