Paramount Network drops ‘Cops’ after Floyd killing

Paramount Network has cancelled long-running reality series Cops in the wake of George Floyd’s death while in police custody.

The ViacomCBS-owned network had already pulled the show from its schedule last week amid global protests following Floyd’s death and Paramount has now released a short statement explaining: “Cops is not on the Paramount Network and we don’t have any current or future plans for it to return.”

Cops’ cancellation comes after more than three decades on the air. Launching in 1989 it was one of the longest-running shows on US television. While cancelled once before, by Fox in 2013, the series was then picked up by Paramount, which was known as Spike TV at the time.

The unscripted show has faced criticism over the years due to its perceived glorification of police aggression, including high-speed vehicle pursuits and officers breaking down doors to arrest suspects. Its continued production appears to have become untenable amid protests over police brutality, racism and the mistreatment of black citizens by US police.

Floyd, a black US citizen, was killed while in the custody of Minneapolis police officers on 25 May, with one white officer, Derek Chauvin, holding his knee on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes. Chauvin and three other officers face murder charges.

Big Fish Entertainment’s Live PD, another prominent US reality cop show, which was recently renewed for another 160 episodes by A+E Network, was also pulled from schedules following Floyd’s death.

A+E did this “out of respect for the families of George Floyd and others who have lost their lives.”

Companies across the entertainment industry came together last week to mark ‘Blackout Tuesday’, with ViacomCBS, AGC Studios and Inspire Entertainment not holding any business for a day to mark Floyd’s death.

Other media giants have donated millions to anti-racism charities and issued statements of solidarity, while Oprah Winfrey is this week hosting a two-night special in response to the continuing civil unrest in America.

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