Banned reality hit ‘Cops’ will return to Fox News Media streaming service

LOS ANGELES – The cops, the reality TV series featuring law enforcement in action, was taken off the air last year after 32 seasons amid nationwide law enforcement protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd.

But the controversial program returns. Fox Nation, the subscription streaming service operated by Fox News Media, has picked up the 33rd season of The cops, which has not aired since it was pulled from Paramount Network, the cable channel owned by ViacomCBS which has been broadcasting it since 2013.

Fox Nation acquired 33 new episodes of the series from Langley Productions, some of which were being filmed when it was canceled, plus 15 more from the previous season. After four The cops the episodes are unveiled on October 1, a new one will be available every Friday.

The acquisition of The cops, which Fox News Media is expected to announce today, is likely to generate backlash among police critics who find the program problematic because of its depiction of law enforcement tactics and the criminal justice system.

Paramount’s cancellation of The cops was seen as a response to public anger over Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020, although the network never commented on why the show was gone. The series remained in production as the show was still broadcast in overseas markets.

Floyd, a black man arrested for using a fake $ 20 bill at a Minneapolis store, died after police officer Derek Chauvin put his knee on his neck for nine minutes. Earlier this year, Chauvin was convicted of murder and sentenced to 22.5 years in prison.

The incident captured on cell phone video sparked protests in cities across the country and a nationwide conversation about police and race relations. Media representation of the police was among the issues discussed, leading to the cancellation of The cops and a similar series, A&E Network’s PD live, one of the most popular cable TV programs.

The cops aired on the Fox Broadcast Network from 1989 to 2013 before moving to Paramount Network, then known as Spike TV. Some critics have complained that the action captured by the show does not always accurately represent law enforcement work and often features criminal activity involving black suspects.

Color of Change, a civil rights group, lobbied broadcast network Fox to drop the show following the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin.

Despite the controversies surrounding the show, Fox News believes its politically conservative viewers, many of whom are law enforcement or strongly support the police, will appreciate the opportunity to watch. The cops again.

As a promotional link to the program, the company offers free one-year subscriptions to Fox Nation for first responders. Fox News Media will also donate $ 5 to Answer the Call, a non-profit organization that provides financial support to the families of New York City first responders killed in the line of duty, for each new subscriber. who registers this week.

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Switching to a subscription streaming service will likely limit audiences for The cops to die-hard fans. It will also be isolated from advertiser boycotts, as Fox Nation is not an ad-supported service.

“It’s very acceptable to our audience who are cops, first responders and the military,” said Jason Klarman, president of Fox Nation. “I think they’re big fans of the show and they miss it. Putting it on a streaming subscription service won’t make it accessible to everyone, but it will be to the people who want it the most.

Fox News has provided extensive coverage of Floyd’s funeral and the Chauvin trial, but the network has come under fire for portraying Black Lives Matters protesters as anti-fascists destroying American cities. Some of the remarks were inflammatory enough that several advertisers removed their ads from Tucker Carlson’s program.

Klarman downplayed the prospect of a possible backlash The cops on Fox Nation.

“It’s on a subscription service,” Klarman said. “It’s not over with free airwaves. If you don’t like the show, don’t subscribe. The cops shows cops at work, and that’s an unvarnished look at that.

Asked to respond to critics of the show, Klarman said, “I can’t speak to a larger cultural movement that was happening at the time (of its cancellation). I think the content is self-contained. is a very captivating program for people who want to follow the life of the police.

Klarman said Fox Nation will be aware of the racial makeup of the suspects shown in the new The cops season.

“Part of our selection process included a review of the offenders who will be featured in the new season and ensuring that the shows would be representative of the entire population,” he said.

Klarman believes the addition of new episodes of an established hit show with an integrated audience will draw attention to Fox Nation, which is nearly three years old but still seen as a growing business for its parent company.

“It’s a very easy decision for us to make,” said Klarman.

Although Fox News has not released any subscriber data, Fox Nation does not approach the size of established streaming platforms such as Netflix, Disney +, or Hulu.

Fox Nation was launched to attract the growing number of viewers who switched to streaming. Other than the on-demand reruns of Fox News opinion broadcasts in prime time the night before, there is no duplication with the cable network.

While the service has conservative hosts like Dan Bongino, it also has a lineup of historical documentaries, Clint Eastwood movies, real-life crime shows hosted by Nancy Grace, and a series where Fox News features Jeanine Pirro visiting homes. luxurious on Castles United States. He also has his own Tucker Carlson program where the host conducts longer talks with conservative guests.

The service has added a wider range of programming – it aired an original Christmas movie last year – as it tries to hold loyal Fox News viewers when they’re not in the mood to watch the news. and political discussions.

“When our audience isn’t watching the news, they are watching real criminal, entertainment and lifestyle content and we want to be the provider of that content for them,” Klarman said.

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