During the height of last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests and reckoning over the unjust killings of Black men by police, Paramount Network yanked the long-running reality TV police series Cops from its airwaves.
Now, just a year later Cops is being rebooted by — who else? — Fox News. The conservative cable network has ordered a full season’s worth of new episodes to air exclusively on its Fox Nation streaming service. What’s more, 15 episode from last season of Cops, which had been stowed away following the show’s initial cancelation, will also be aired on Fox Nation.
To coincide with the show’s launch on Fox Nation, the company is offering free one-year subscriptions to first responders, and will donate $5 to Answer the Call, a nonprofit 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 signs up this week.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Jason Klarman, president of Fox Nation, defended the company’s decision to reboot Cops. “It’s very acceptable to our audience who are cops and first responders and people from the military,” said Klarman “I think they are big fans of the show and they miss the show. Putting it on a streaming subscription service isn’t making it available to everyone but it will be there for the people who desire it the most.”
“It’s on a subscription service,” Klarman added. “It’s not over the free airwaves. If you don’t like the show, don’t subscribe. Cops shows cops working, and it’s an unvarnished look at that.”
Klarman also said Fox Nation will be mindful of the racial makeup of suspects shown on new episodes of Cops. “Part of our vetting process included a review of the offenders to be featured in the new season and ensuring that the shows would be representative of the entire population,” he explained.