In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, Paramount canceled “Cops,” the long-running reality series that some critics have accused of glorifying police violence. But the show is now getting a second life on Fox Nation, a subscription-based streaming app run by Fox News Media.
Fox Nation has ordered new episodes for the 33rd season of the show, which gives viewers a fly-on-the-wall perspective as law enforcement officers go on patrol, respond to calls and make arrests. The streaming service also picked up 15 episodes from the 32nd season.
In a statement, Fox Nation President Jason Klarman hailed the return of “one of the most iconic brands on television with an incredibly passionate fan base.” He said the company would “show our appreciation to all first responders” by offering them a free one-year subscription starting Monday.
“Cops” premiered on the Fox network in 1989 and quickly became a staple of the broadcast TV lineup, at once riveting and repelling audiences with its raw look at day-to-day police activity.
The series was also a cultural lightning rod, and some detractors — including the civil rights group Color of Change — charged producers with dehumanizing people of color and warping public attitudes about the criminal justice system.
Fox canceled “Cops” in 2013 after 25 seasons. The series then moved to Spike TV, a predecessor to the Paramount Network.
But amid nationwide protests last summer over systemic racism, Paramount pulled the show from its lineup, saying in a statement that it did not have “current or future plans” to bring it back.
The cable channel A&E, for its part, removed “Live PD” — a similar series about law enforcement officers — “out of respect for the families of George Floyd and others who have lost their lives.”
In its statement, Fox Nation said it would donate $5 to a nonprofit organization called Answer the Call for each new subscriber who signs up between Monday and Sept. 20. Answer the Call provides financial support to the families of New York City first responders killed in the line of duty.