'Cops' is the Longest Running Primetime TV Show. What's the Secret?
"Cops" has been on TV for over thirty years. So, how does this TV show have such staying power?
Everyone loves a good car chase, and we all tuned in for the OJ trial, but why have we continued to watch Cops for the last three decades? If you're a fan of the show you know the storyline is built around a bunch of cops doing their job. They run into drunks, drug addicts, get in chases and always meet the weirdest people on the planet.
But what makes Cops stay on television?
You can attribute some of the shoes staying power to always fulfilling the promise of the premise. Cops never shies away from the action. You know what you're going to get each week. That predictability keeps an audience tuning in.
It's also a relatively cheap show to make. You just need a camera and sound crew doing a ride along. Then you have to edit it all together. This keeps overhead way down. Cops is able to last so long because they don't have recurring actors or storylines. It's about what happens day in and day out.
Check out this in-depth Vox video on Cops.
While both these reasons make sense, why else has Cops stood the test of time? The real secret? The Writer's Strike.
Reality TV is relatively cheap and easy to make. Cops came into existence during a Writer's Strike in the early 90s. Fox was looking for a show they could put on TV that could get around the union. Enter Reality TV, where you don't need to hire and pay writers. This boom in Reality TV was felt across every network.
Once networks figured out how they could schedule around the strike and still have content, they drifted toward reality TV. Cops was part of that revolution and found staying power as a breakout hit at the top.
What's next? Learn how Watchmen holds up after ten years...
Watchmen was, at one point, the most famous graphic novel of all time. It took 30 years to make it to the big screen. Now, we look back on the film and look forward toward what's to come. Zach Snyder's Watchmen came during a flurry of "gritty" comic book movies. It was the anti-hero film with dark themes, adult situations, and moral complexity. It asked a lot of the questions we had been pondering while watching the senseless violence that dominated many of the blockbusters of then and now.
But how does Watchmen feel now that we're a viewing audience guided by the moral subjectivity of the Avengers? Click the link to learn more!