The Real Reason Cops And Live P.D. Were Canceled

It's been more than 30 years for Cops, the ride-along reality TV series that purported to show police officers at work, making communities across the country safe. The show used reporters embedded with police officers in ride-alongs, recording dramatic encounters with citizens, usually involving arrests. It debuted in 1989 on the Fox network, says The New York Times, then moved to Spike TV (now Paramount) in 2013. In the wake of the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after being held down for nine minutes by a white police officer, Cops has been canceled. "We don't have any current or future plans for it to return," said a network spokesperson.

The Times further reports that efforts to remove the show from the network's schedule date back to at least 2013, when the advocacy group Color of Change urged Fox to cancel Cops: the program "built a profit model around distorted and dehumanizing portrayals of black Americans and the criminal justice system... a 'reality' where the police are always competent, crime-solving heroes and where the bad boys always get caught."

Live PD joins Cops in the cancellation line

Also cancelled in the wake of George Floyd's death is a similar reality-based program involving police officers, the A&E Network's Live PD, which supposedly gave viewers "unfettered and unfiltered live access inside a variety of the country's busiest police forces, both urban and rural, and the communities they patrol on a typical night," said CNN. Dwindling public support for the police is bringing TV executives to re-examine programming that presents one-sided views of law enforcement, wrote CNN.

The cancellation of Live PD is complicated by allegations that the program filmed the death of a black man in custody in Austin, Texas, last year. As Variety reports, Javier Ambler was held down and tasered four times by officers, even as he pleaded for help and told them of his heart condition. The video was never aired and was in fact destroyed. At first the program was on "hiatus," which was changed to "permanent" on June 10, reports CNBC.