In the wake of protests across the country against police brutality following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Paramount Network made a big decision about the future of one of television's longest running shows: Cops. The series already had an episode pulled off the schedule despite the planned Season 33 premiere earlier this month. Cops aired 32 seasons before Paramount handed down the cancellation order.
Although a spokesperson for Paramount didn't specifically name the current widespread protests against police tactics as the motivation to cancel Cops, they did say this (via THR):
Cops is not on the Paramount Network and we don’t have any current or future plans for it to return.
Just days before the official cancellation news on June 9, the planned Season 33 premiere was removed from Paramount's schedule. Instead of airing on Monday, June 8 as originally scheduled, the Cops premiere was replacing by airings of Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II. Paramount didn't address the Cops Season 33 opener being pulled from the schedule, but the episode did not air, and now no more new episodes will be produced for the cable network.
This Paramount cancellation isn't actually the first time Cops got the axe from a network. Fox cancelled Cops after 25 seasons back in 2013, but Spike TV wasted no time in picking it up to continue on cable TV. Cops survived Spike TV's rebranding into Paramount, but Paramount will be the end of the Cops line unless another network steps in with another save.
The long-running reality crime series has been divisive over the years of its run, with critics speaking against the tactics and portrayals while fans praised it. The cancellation is somewhat unsurprising considering the widespread protests against police tactics that are sweeping the nation, especially following the Season 33 premiere's removal and A&E's decision to pull episodes of its hit Live PD, although A&E hasn't announced whether or not Live PD will be cancelled at this point.
The Cops cancellation also comes as Paramount is reportedly moving away from unscripted fare. Considering Paramount's success with shows like Yellowstone and 68 Whiskey, the network could well see a strong scripted future. Maybe Yellowstone will get that spinoff! That said, Paramount is still home to plenty of unscripted offerings, even with the cancellation of Cops.
Ink Master survived its own controversy when Oliver Peck exited the show following the resurfacing of an image depicting him in blackface, and Lip Sync Battle has been a fan-favorite for years, to name only two of Paramount's unscripted series. Only time will tell if the network starts cancelling more shows to make the push for more scripted options.
Cops could be the start of more cancellations, but not necessarily a sign that Paramount viewers should prepare to say goodbye to unscripted favorites, considering the current events that presumably led to the end of Cops after more than three decades. For now, you can look forward to the shows that are still happening on Paramount and the rest of the cable and network lineup. Check out our 2020 summer premiere schedule for what you can watch and when you can watch it.