December 8, 2023

‘Cops’ Is Moving to Spike TV

“Cops,” one of the original reality shows on television, is moving to cable after 24 years on network television.

Starting in September, new episodes of the show will be televised exclusively on Spike TV, the president of Spike, Kevin Kay, announced on Monday. Spike will also have the rights to some past episodes of the series.

The announcement came two days after “Cops” had its hourlong season finale on the Fox network, which introduced the series in 1989 and has carried it ever since. Fox signaled to the producers of “Cops” that it likely wouldn’t renew the show for another season, thereby giving it time to sell it elsewhere.

Mr. Kay of Spike told TV Guide that for several years he had been interested in picking up “Cops” and the opportunity arose this spring. “It’s the perfect show for Spike,” Mr. Kay said. “We want the fans to just shift over hopefully effortlessly.”

Spike said the episodes would be shown Saturdays at 8 p.m., as they have been on Fox for years. In a statement, the creator of “Cops,” John Langley, praised Spike for sticking with the time slot. He added, “It may be bold to say, but we are looking for yet another record-breaking run with Spike!”

“Cops” helped to distinguish Fox when it was a relatively new network in the late 1980s and early 1990s. But the network ordered fewer episodes of “Cops” this season, and it televised sporting events on many Saturdays instead. The network will continue to play up sports programming on Saturdays next season.

Fox similarly canceled the “America’s Most Wanted” in 2011, after pairing that show with “Cops” for over a decade. John Walsh, the host and producer of “America’s Most Wanted,” moved it to the Lifetime cable channel, but Lifetime cancelled it in March. Mr. Walsh is now said to be shopping the show, or a spin-off of it, to other channels.

Other series have moved to cable from broadcast with more success.

TBS, for instance, continues to televise “Cougar Town,” a sitcom that it picked up from ABC.

“Cops” is a logical fit for Spike, which has a number of other crime-oriented reality shows and has positioned itself as a channel for 18- to 49-year-old men. The channel, while relatively small, can repeat the episodes many more times than a network like Fox ever could.

It is expected to use “Cops” as an anchor on Saturday nights to introduce new shows in the time slot immediately after it.

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Media Decoder Blog: ‘Duck Dynast’ on A&E Leads in the Ratings Wednesday Night

The Robertsons, a duck-hunting family that is the subject of the TV series Zach Dilgard/AE The Robertsons, a duck-hunting family that is the subject of the TV series “Duck Dynasty.”

What have programmers at the television networks been thinking, putting on all those shows about cops, doctors and lawyers? America’s fascination has clearly turned in another direction: ducks.

The AE series “Duck Dynasty” has become a raging hit. The season finale, an hour-long edition Wednesday night, set new records for the series, scoring a best-in-television 3 rating from 10 to 11 p.m., among the advertiser-preferred audience group of viewers between the ages of 18 and 49.

Really more about a quirky bayou family that makes duck calls and decoys than about the birds themselves, “Duck Dynasty” is now the top-rated series in AE history.

The best any network show could do in that hour on Wednesday night was a tie between “Chicago Fire” on NBC and “Nashville” on ABC, with a 1.9 rating in that audience segment — far behind the duck-centric reality series on AE.

At least “Fire” managed to attract a bit more viewers overall — 7.2 million — than “Duck Dynasty,” which reached a total of 6.5 million viewers. But both totals were more than “Nashville” could attract — only 5.9 million viewers.

A Grammy nomination special on CBS trailed with 5.4 million viewers and only a 1.5 rating in the 18-49 age group.

Bill Carter writes about the television industry. Follow @wjcarter on Twitter.

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