Whether “Cops” became a fixture in the schedule of every fan of police TV Shows or not, almost anyone alive since the 1989 debut of the Reality TV original can recite the theme song. Kindergarten teachers can vividly recall when five-year-olds began singing “whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do when they come for you?” as spiritedly as the ABC song.

“Cops” has kept its place on various TV networks since its premiere on Fox. Fan loyalty hasn’t spared the series from controversy, however. Critics have pointed to shady behind-the-scenes issues and its overall depiction of law enforcement.

Nonetheless, the show was set to have its 33rd season premiere on Monday, and now, the Paramount Network has pushed the pause button, perhaps permanently.

Live PD” has become one of the favorites on the schedule for A&E, with fans keeping the drama centered on law enforcement from different cities high in the network’s ratings. The series has evolved into the number one cable series for Friday and Saturday nights, but now, the days filled with the confrontation between protesters and police are consuming audiences of every demographic, with literally bruising reality.

Neither “Live PD” nor “Cops” will be on screens this weekend, as reported by the Chicago Tribune, Yahoo, and other sources on June 6.

Police TV has tried to change with the times, but the true news spotlight since the George Floyd murder has exposed that continued hurt over healing is still happening in every sense. TV cops, even the reality TV ones, are conjured by productions. Under protest, in fictional scenes, and for the future, we can, we must be better.

TV land has placed ‘Cops’ on life support before

Surging popularity surrounded “Cops” from its start. Despite the parodies and poking fun at the arresting parties and perpetrators, few viewers had seen such “raw” depictions from either side of law and order.

The series is certainly a forerunner in reality TV, but with the recent harsher examination of police behavior, more scrutiny has revealed unfavorable sides of the action.

Dan Taberski focused on the “reality” aspect of the show in his podcast, “Running from Cops.” The installment featured several instances where participants were coerced into signing waivers and how the production staff gives police final edit rights to remove anything that portrays police unfavorably.

Cops” had a 25-season run on Fox, and was revived again in 2013, when Spike TV picked up the show, ordering new episodes to run with repeats. In 2018, Spike TV became Paramount Network. As of today, June 6, the show is not listed on the channel's website.

No statement has been made regarding the “Cops” future. The series is already nowhere to be found on the networks

More than an interlude of reflection for ‘Cops’ and ‘Live PD’

Today marks the 12th straight day of impassioned protest since George Floyd gasped his last air under the knee of Minneapolis “training officer,” Derek Chauvin.

On this same day, the Floyd Family gathers in North Carolina for a second memorial service before George is laid to rest in Houston.

This morning, two Buffalo, New York officers were charged with felony assault for shoving a 75-year-old man to the ground. More inexcusable than the violation was the sight of more than a dozen officers in uniform walking by, gawking, with none rendering aid as blood flowed from his ears. If this behavior is the kind that keeps being captured on camera, imagine the kind that escapes the lens. These protests are not about proactive steps or revised rules-- they are a movement to demand change, including all colors, genders, ages, and concerns. The thrust will carry countless voices to Washington DC and to a different future.

As for TV futures, the social nail seems to be in the coffin for “Cops.” TV is a numbers game, so “Live PD” will likely return at some point, presumably with a greater internal focus for featured officers. Reality TV relies on the prized proper edit, so it's sure that community policing and interpersonal relationships will get high-intensity.

From ‘Cops’ to a culture change

One change that viewers had to notice in mere days was the addition of statements in support of #BlackLivesMatter across many channels. Only a few years ago, in the wake of tragic losses in the African-American community, such endorsement would have been unthinkable. The banner now embraced by major networks used to be pushing the boundary too much—akin to the seven words not to be said on TV.

In its statement regarding “Live PD’s” absence from this weekend’s schedule, A&E declared the move was “out of respect for George Floyd and others who have lost their lives” and in consultation with “the departments we follow and for the safety of all involved.”

Joseph Wambaugh depicted aspects of life on the thin blue line, and some of us recall how “Hill Street Blues,” “NYPD Blue,” and particularly the “SVU” of “Law & Order” did more than win Emmys. Although not reality shows, their portrayals reframed police forces as being filled with real, flawed, but trying human beings. The cops on the screen made mistakes and they also go to great effort to make them right. Police life is not imitating art in many situations now.

It's very hard to hold a line when hurls of all sorts come. It's even harder to face that line feeling unheard and less than human.

Ghostbusters” will air in place of “Cops” for now, and the good guys (and girls) in that movie are not real, either. Real people don't have the power to vanquish every evil, in green vapor, slime, or otherwise. What they have together with combined determination and heart, though, can never cease to be a force for good.