“Cops” and “Live PD” Episodes Delayed Due to Protests

An understandable decision, given the timing

"Live PD" set
Live PD is an American television program on the A&E Network.
Bill Tompkins/Getty Images
By Tobias Carroll / June 6, 2020 11:10 am

What happens when reality television is overtaken by real events? That’s a question that the powers that be at a pair of cable networks are currently dealing with. As protests against police brutality spread around the country — and around the world — and the police response to some of them reinforces the issues being protested, some have concluded that now might not be the best time to roll out new episodes of police-themed reality shows.

As Justin Curto writes at Vulture, new episodes of both Cops and Live PD have been delayed in the wake of recent protests. Both are long-running programs, but viewers hoping to catch a glimpse of either might need to wait a little longer — or, in at least one case, a lot longer:

… Paramount Network will delay the intended June 8 season 33 premiere of the flagship police documentary show Cops, while A&E will hold back on new episodes of its show Live PD, previously set to air its 300th episode on June 6. Paramount has taken down all material related to Cops on its website and hasn’t detailed further plans for the series.

As Michael Schneider notes at Variety, it’s possible that this could be the end of the line for Cops. In recent years, the show has come under heavy criticism for its depiction of police work. The release of the podcast Running from Cops in 2019 raised questions about its veracity and its morality.

Writing in The New York Times last year, Jack Healy noted that the podcast

… suggests that the show puts a disproportionate focus on drug arrests and presents an uncritical view as officers physically subdue people, in one case showcasing the use of a stun gun by an officer who was also seen on body-camera footage stunning a man 11 times.

With that in mind, it’s not hard to see why the long run of Cops might be at an end — or why, if it does return, its audience may be greatly reduced.

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