How did "Cops" become an American institution? With its reggae theme song and its unvarnished premise, the influential series remains the TV public's most direct portal to the raw world of street crime, even as competing shows and changes in law enforcement have made "Cops" harder to produce. Though some TV watchers might be surprised to discover it's still on the air, the show begins a 25th season next month. It is the longest-running entertainment series on prime-time network television. Moreover, 850 episodes in, the series has earned about $400 million through reruns alone. But it's possible this will be its final season on Fox.
Mr. Langley said he wanted to hit his silver anniversary on Fox "for legacy and ego purposes," but he's unhappy about how frequently the network bumps his show for college football and other sports, and says he'd consider shopping "Cops" to a cable channel. It has been locked into the same difficult time slot—Saturday nights at 8 p.m.—since 1991. He owns the "Cops" copyright, but Fox has the option to renew the show. The network says no official decision has been made yet.
Lots of good stuff in the article about censorship, editing and why some departments won't participate.