Tag: So Far

Watch Carl Reiner’s Touching Final Performance

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There is a sad but very lovely coda to the passing of comedy legend Carl Reiner, who died last month at the age of 98. Days before Reiner’s passing, he recorded what ultimately became his farewell performance — as part of the “fan film” version of The Princess Bride that is currently being spearheaded, under quarantine, by Jason Reitman.

Reitman has recruited a who’s who of actors and artists to appear in this socially distanced Princess Bride remake for Quibi. The fan film’s ranks include Rob Reiner, who directed the original Princess Bride. In Reitman’s new version, Reiner is one of the actors who plays the Fred Savage role, while his dad Carl plays the Peter Falk role. After Carl Reiner passed, Rob Reiner gave his blessing to leave the scene in Reitman’s Princess Bride.

Vanity Fair got the scoop on the performance (“At 98 years old, Carl Reiner understood every beat of that scene. His understanding of the writing, the performance, the pauses, the gestures, the hat, the look to camera, how to make an exit, were as sharp as any actor at any age,” Reitman told VF) and also posted footage of the two Reiners’ scene together, which is guaranteed to make you cry. Watch for yourself.

Home Movie: The Princess Bride is available on Quibi. It’s got at least one very good performance — the rest of the cast includes Josh Gad, Tiffany Haddish, Jennifer Garner, Hugh Jackman, Jack Black, Patton Oswalt, Andy Serkis, Elijah Wood, David Oyelowo, Neil Patrick Harris, and many more.

Gallery — The Best Films of 2020 So Far:

8 Percent of People Who Tried Quibi Reportedly Paid to Keep It

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We haven’t written too much about Quibi, the new mobile-centric streaming service, because … well, so far, the programming we’ve seen from Quibi is a lot less interesting than the reporting about the inner-workings of Quibi — like the recent report from Vulture in which the company’s CEO responded to a question about her favorite TV shows with “I’m not sure I’d classify myself as an entertainment enthusiast.”

To be fair, some of Quibi’s struggles are a matter of terrible timing. The company launched a streaming service intended to be watched entirely by people on the go (all its content is short — its weird name is short for “quick bites”) a few weeks into a global pandemic that locked a vast percentage of the Earth’s population inside their homes. As recently as last month, Quibi was still working on functionality for Rokus and other streaming devices.

Quibi’s initial 90-day free trials are wrapping up, and the numbers of subscribers sticking around to continue paying for the app are, according to the “research firm Sensor Tower,” less than ideal. They report that “910,000 people [signed] up for free 90-day trials within the first three days of its April 6 launch” but “only 72,000 subscribers stuck around and decided to pay $5 a month (or $8 without ads) for the service.” That’s an 8 percent conversion rate. (For sake of comparison, Disney+ has something like 50 million users, and it only launched in November.)

For what it’s worth, Quibi disputed these numbers in a statement to Deadline:

The number of paid subscribers is incorrect by an order of magnitude. Our conversion from download to trial is above mobile app benchmarks, and we are seeing excellent conversion to paid subscribers – both among our 90-day free trial sign-ups from April, as well as our 14-day free trial sign-ups from May and June.

Quibi is still rolling out new shows, of course. On July 20, they’ll premiere Die Hart, a series starring Kevin Hart as himself, in which he plays “a fictionalized version of himself who’s tired of being the comedic sidekick. He gets his wish when a famous director offers him his dream – to be a leading man action star – but there’s a catch: Kevin must first train at the world’s greatest action star school, run by a lunatic.” Here is the trailer:

So, there you go. Quibi! It’s an app that exists.

Gallery — The Best TV Shows of 2020 So Far:

‘The Wonder Years’ Is Getting Rebooted With a Black Family

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Television has not yet run out of beloved shows of the ’80s and ’90s to reboot. ABC announced today that they are making a pilot for a new version of The Wonder Years, which originally aired on the network from 1988 to 1993. The entire premise of the show was already about nostalgia, so there may not be a more perfect concept to capture the zeitgeist right now.

The old Wonder Years starred a young Fred Savage as Kevin Arnold, and chronicled his ups and downs growing up in suburbia during the late 1960s. Savage will direct the pilot of the new Wonder Years, which will be set during the same time period, with one very notable twist, according to its official description (via USA Today). The show is now about…

…‘How a Black middle-class family in Montgomery, Alabama, in the turbulent late 1960s, the same era as the original series, made sure it was 'The Wonder Years' for them, too.’ In addition to Savage, who has built a successful career directing comedies and also will serve as an executive producer, the reboot will include original series co-creator Neal Marlens as a consultant.

Lee Daniels will executive produce the series; The Last O.G.’s Saladin Patterson is the writer and executive producer.

Reframing The Wonder Years to focus on a Black family in the late 1960s could make it one of the more timely updates of a classic show in recent memory. As a kid, I loved The Wonder Years because it was a great show to watch as family — my parents talked about what life was like during the time period on the show, and I could relate to the younger characters, who were all roughly my age. If the new show can capture three generations — the grandparents who lived through that time, the parents who watched the old show, and their kids today — it could be a big hit.

Gallery — The Best TV Shows of 2020 So Far:

Tom Hanks Has ‘No Respect’ For People Who Refuse to Wear Masks

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Imagine how bad things have got to make Tom Hanks mad.

Hanks, beloved nice guy of the silver screen, did not mince words about the coronavirus and the politicization of mask wearing when asked about it during his press “tour” (i.e. he’s sitting in a room and doing Zoom calls with journalists) for his new Apple TV+ original Greyhound. Hanks says flat out he has “no respect” for anyone who refuses to wear masks and socially distance themselves. In fact, he says, wearing a mask is “literally the least you can do” during these difficult times.

Hanks didn’t make these comments offhandedly in private, either. He said them on the record, on camera, during an interview with the Associated Press. You can watch them for yourself:

Obviously coronavirus is a subject of personal importance to Hanks; he and his wife Rita Wilson were among the very first public figures to be sickened by the coronavirus. Hanks and Wilson became ill in Australia, where Hanks was filming an Elvis Presley biopic. Thankfully, both had relatively mild cases. Eventually, both made full recoveries and returned to the United States.

Others are far less lucky. To date more than 11.6 million people worldwide have contracted the coronavirus and over 539,000 have died. So wear a mask. Please don’t make Tom Hanks mad again. It’s such a troubling image. Greyhound will be available on Apple TV+ this Friday.

Gallery — The Best Movies of 2020 So Far:

‘Supermarket Sweep’ Is Now on Netflix. So Is Glorious ’90s Hair.

href=”//screencrush.com/author/mattsinger/” rel=”author” title=”Matt Singer”>Matt SingerFremantle

At supermarkets around the country, people are losing their minds. Not a day goes by without a new viral video of grocery customers in full-blown meltdown mode over having to wear a mask to shop. (Hey look! There’s another one!)

At supermarkets on Netflix, though, everyone is happy. Smiling! There are no lines. No one needs a mask. People freely exchange high-fives and even hugs. The toilet paper aisle is fully stocked. People routinely leave the store with thousands in cash. That’s because the streaming service recently added 15 episodes of Supermarket Sweep to its TV library.

For those who’ve never had the pleasure of growing up in the ’90s with unfettered access to basic cable, Supermarket Sweep was a staple of daytime television throughout the decade. A remake of a ’60s game show of the same name, the show offered three teams of contestants the opportunity to rampage through a grocery store, collecting items in an attempt to wrack up the largest grocery bill possible in about two minutes. The winning team got to go on a scavenger hunt through the store (actually an impressive simulation of a supermarket on a soundstage in California). If they followed the clues and found the right items in time, they could win $5,000. It’s basically a shopping-based game show for people who find The Price Is Right too exciting.

Supermarket Sweep is surely one of Netflix’s least-expensive grabs at the nostalgia market, which has become an increasing focus of their programming in recent years. (The #1 show on the entire service as of this writing is a reboot of Unsolved Mysteries, followed two spots behind that on the Netflix TV Top Ten by a new version of The Baby-Sitters Club.) In addition to their value to Gen Xers who want to wallow in their youth for a couple hours, Supermarket Sweep also contains important documentary footage of 1990s fashion and hair and its absolute ’90s-est.

Binging the episodes last night, I was staggered by the onslaught of patterned sports coats, billowy blouses, and frizzy bangs. If you told me these 15 episodes were selected specifically to highlight the show’s most ’90s-tastic lewks, I would absolutely believe you. Here are just a few of the highlights:

As someone who lived through this period of our nation’s history, I can tell you with confidence: Yes, this is 100 percent what it looked like.

Supermarket Sweep reruns would have looked kitschy at any point in time, but they couldn’t have arrived on streaming at a more surreal time, as grocery shopping has become a legitimately dangerous activity that fills customers with dread. Wikipedia tells me that a third iteration of Supermarket Sweep is in production right now, hosted by Leslie Jones; it’s scheduled to premiere on ABC in the fall. I hope they really go for the zeitgeist and embrace the atmosphere in grocery stores circa 2020. Instead of joyful contestants cheering each other on, the teams should get into shoving matches over PPE and then fight to the death over the last jug of bottled water.

Gallery — The Best TV of 2020 So Far:

The Best Films of 2020 So Far

href=”//screencrush.com/author/mattsinger/” rel=”author” title=”Matt Singer”>Matt SingerUniversal/A24/Netflix

2020 is already half over. Can you believe it? Time flies when you’re trapped in an endless quarantine in the midst of the worst pandemic in a century!

I kid because the first six months of 2020 has been the longest and most challenging 15 years of my life. But I’m still here! And so are the movies, even if movie theaters themselves have seen better days. In years past, I would limit any sort of “best of” list to films that only got theatrical releases. The pandemic may have finally done away with that long-standing rule — and it’s certainly blurred the already flimsy line between film and television. At this point, the only thing those two words describe is length and format. Very few movies are shot on film (and almost none are projected on it), and “television” is increasingly watched on devices other than TVs. Words are weird.

So whether they did screen in theaters, premiere on VOD, or go straight to streaming, here are the ten best “films” I saw in 2020 so far. All in all, it’s been a pretty good year for cinema, even if it’s been a bad year for literally everything else. I can’t wait to see what the remaining 40 months of 2020 hold in store!

Gallery — The Best Films of 2019:

Jenny Slate Will No Longer Voice Black Character on ‘Big Mouth’

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Animation is a world where, in theory, anyone can play anyone — because actors only provide voices that are supplemented by artists. In recent years, that’s caused issues for shows like The Simpsons, where a white actor, Hank Azaria, voiced an Indian character, Kwik-E-Mart manager Apu, for decades. Azaria announced a few months ago that he would no longer voice Apu, and in Azaria’s defense, he began portraying the character while the first George Bush was the President of the United States.

The practice of casting white actors as the voices of minority characters didn’t end in the late ’80s or ’90s or even the 2000s — new shows have continued it. On Netflix’s Big Mouth, for example, the character of a half-Black/half-Jewish girl named Missy Foreman-Greenwald was voiced by Jenny Slate, who is Jewish, but not Black.

Here’s a scene from Big Mouth featuring Missy:

Slate has voiced Missy for three seasons. But with even greater scrutiny on issues of systemic racism in Hollywood and the media in recent weeks, Slate has now announced that she can “no longer play” Missy, and will not continue with the show. In a lengthy Instagram post, Slate said that when she first took the role she reasoned “that it was permissible for me to play Missy because her mom is Jewish and White — as am I. But Missy is also Black, and Black characters on an animated show should be played by Black people. I acknowledge how my original reasoning was flawed, that it existed as an example of white privilege and unjust allowances made within a system of societal white supremacy, and that in me playing “Missy,” I was engaging in an act of erasure of Black people.”

Big Mouth creators Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin, and Jennifer Flackett posted their own apology and explanation to Kroll’s instagram, in which they wrote they “sincerely apologize for and regret our original decision to cast a white actor to voice a biracial character. We made a mistake, took our privilege for granted, and we’re working hard to do better moving forward.” They also noted that Missy will be recast with a Black actor, and that they “look forward to being able to explore Missy’s story with even greater authenticity in the years to come.”

It is sort of shocking that a show like Big Mouth, which premiered three years ago, cast Slate as a Black character in the first place, but it’s not an isolated incident; on another Netflix cartoon, BoJack Horseman, Alison Brie voiced a Vietnamese woman for six seasons. (Show creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg recently laid out the entire situation, and admitted his mistakes, on Twitter.)

The larger issue here, beyond it being an animated form of blackface that perpetuates stereotypes, is how doing this systemically repeatedly hands white actors the roles that could be given to actors of color. And that needs to change. In the meantime, Netflix has already renewed Big Mouth for at least three more seasons.

Gallery — The Best TV Shows of 2020 So Far:

Brooklyn Nine-Nine Trashed 4 Episodes After George Floyd’s Death

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Pretty much every TV show is struggling to adjust to the new reality of the world in 2020, but few series are under as much pressure as Brooklyn Nine-Nine, the long-running comedy series about a group of New York City cops starring Andy Samberg. After the death of George Floyd and massive protests against police brutality, people might just not want to watch funny police hijinks right now, no matter how much they previously liked the show, its creators, or its stars.

In the immediate aftermath of Floyd’s death, the cast and creators of Brooklyn Nine-Nine collectively donated $100,000 to the National Bail Fund Network, which was a welcome gesture. Now the team is looking to next season, which presents a major challenge. Series star Terry Crews told Access Hollywood that the show already discarded four episodes it had planned for next year because they didn’t work in light of the events of recent weeks.

As he put it:

We’ve had a lot of somber talks about it and deep conversations and we hope through this we’re going to make something that will be truly groundbreaking this year. We have an opportunity and we plan to use it in the best way possible. Our show-runner Dan Goor, they had four episodes all ready to go and they just threw them in the trash. We have to start over. Right now we don’t know which direction it’s going to go in.

Productions everywhere are delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic, which adds another complicated layer to shows like Brooklyn Nine-Nine. How much of reality do you acknowledge? And if you do acknowledge it, how do you make it funny? There’s not a lot to laugh about right now. We’ll see what they come up with when the show (hopefully) returns to NBC in late 2020.

Gallery — The Best TV of 2020 So Far:

Jimmy Kimmel Apologizes For ‘Man Show’ Blackface Sketches

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Just days after Jimmy Kimmel was announced as the host of the year’s Emmy Awards, the Jimmy Kimmel Live! comedian has now had to release a statement apologizing for his use of blackface on numerous occasions on The Man Show, which Kimmel co-hosted with Adam Carolla on Comedy Central in the late ’90s and early 2000s.

With renewed focus on examples of blackface and racial stereotyping in popular culture recent weeks, Kimmel’s old sketches have gained attention on social media, with some calling for Kimmel’s firing from his late-night series. In response, Kimmel released a statement in which he apologizes “ to those who were genuinely hurt or offended by the makeup I wore or the words I spoke” while also condemning those who are using these old clips to “diminish” his modern “criticisms of social and other injustices.”

Kimmel also explained the origins of the Man Show sketches in question, which grew out of his old radio appearances (which, notably, did not include visuals):

On KROQ radio in the mid-90s, I did a recurring impression of the NBA player Karl Malone. In the late 90s, I continued impersonating Malone on TV. We hired makeup artists to make me look as much like Karl Malone as possible. I never considered that this might be seen as anything other than an imitation of a fellow human being, one that had no more to do with Karl’s skin color than it did his bulging muscles and bald head. I’ve done dozens of impressions of famous people, including Snoop Dogg, Oprah, Eminem, Dick Vitale, Rosie, and many others. In each case, I thought of them as impersonations of celebrities and nothing more.

Kimmel said he waited to apologize because he “knew doing so would be celebrated as a victory by those who equate apologies with weakness and cheer for leaders who use prejudice to divide us,” and added that he’s “evolved and matured over the last twenty-plus years, and I hope that is evident to anyone who watches my show.” And he insisted he “won’t be bullied into silence by those who feign outrage to advance their oppressive and genuinely racist agendas.”

Here is one of the Man Show sketches in question:

Kimmel also announced last week that he would be taking the summer off from his show, a move some of his critics have alleged was a preemptive decision to head off the criticism for these old sketches that he must have known was coming. Instead, Kimmel insisted in his statement that the vacation “has been planned for more than a year and includes the next two summers off as well.” He closed with this: “To those I’ve disappointed, I am sorry.”

Gallery — The Best TV Shows of 2020 So Far:

‘Cobra Kai’ Jumps From YouTube to Netflix

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In addition to being the official home of unboxing videos and fan theories about how actually the Empire was the good guys of Star Wars, YouTube recently attempted to expand their audience by launching its own line of original programming available by subscription. Their service was called “YouTube Red,” whose flagship show was Cobra Kai, an update and sequel series to the classic ’80s franchise The Karate Kid. Cobra Kai has been about as well-received as any legacyquel revival of recent years, earning very solid reviews from critics and fans. But the show has never quite broken out beyond that, perhaps because to most people YouTube remains a place to watch unboxing videos and fan theories, not splashy television shows you have to pay for.

It seems, amidst increasing competition in the streaming space, that that YouTube now agrees with that assessment. They’re basically abandoning their scripted originals, which are all now looking for other homes. The biggest show of the bunch, Cobra Kai, has landed at Netflix. More, via The Hollywood Reporter:

The first two seasons, which aired on YouTube in 2018 and 2019, will make their debut on Netflix later this year. A premiere date for the third season of the drama from Sony Pictures Television will move to Netflix at a date to be determined. YouTube had previously picked up the comedy for a third season before changing its business model from a subscription to an ad-supported platform.

Cobra Kai makes a lot of sense on Netflix, and it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if the show took off in a huge way with Netflix’s algorithm and massive audience behind it. As for YouTube, it’s just tough to convince people to pay for something — even something really good — once you’ve conditioned them to expect things for free. If you need something new to binge over there, well, there’s always this.

Gallery — The Best TV of 2020 So Far:

‘That 70s Show’ Star Danny Masterson Charged With Rape

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Some two and a half years ago, Danny Masterson was fired from his Netflix series The Ranch following allegations that he had raped multiple women between 2001 and 2003. The allegations sparked an LAPD investigation, which today resulted in Masterson being arrested and charged with three counts of rape. If convicted, Masterson could go to prison for up to 45 years.

According to CNN, Masterson “is accused of raping a 23-year-old woman between January and December 2001. He also allegedly raped a 28-year-old woman in April 2003 and a 23-year-old woman sometime between October and December of that year.” In a statement, Masterson’s attorney said "Mr. Masterson is innocent, and we're confident that he will be exonerated when all the evidence finally comes to light and witnesses have the opportunity to testify." Two additional women accused Masterson of assault, but the District Attorney declined to file charges in those cases “one for insufficient evidence and the other based upon the statute of limitations for the crime alleged.”

Masterson is best known for his tenure on the long-running Fox sitcom That 70s Show. The Ranch reunited Masterson with his That 70s Show co-star Ashton Kutcher; he was fired during filming of the show’s third season and the series continued on without him. (Netflix also fired an executive who at one point told one of Masterson’s alleged victims that the company did not believe her claims.) Masterson was released on $3.3 million bail and is due back in court for arraignment on September 18.

Gallery — The Best TV Shows of 2020 So Far:

The Emmys Will Still Air In September, Jimmy Kimmel to Host

href=”//screencrush.com/author/mattsinger/” rel=”author” title=”Matt Singer”>Matt SingerKevin Winter, Getty Images

Just about everything in popular culture and sports has been postponed or outright canceled in the last several months thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. While TV is consumed at home, it wasn’t immune to the effects of the virus. Many series’ 2019-2020 seasons got cut short because production shut down before they’d shot all of their ordered episodes. A few series ended entirely without their planned finales.

Nonetheless, the Emmys are still moving forward. The Television Academy announced today that the Emmys will air Sunday, September 20 at 8PM ET on ABC. The show will be hosted, for the third time, by Jimmy Kimmel. Nothing can stop the Emmys.

Here was Kimmel’s comment on the news, via the official press release.

I don't know where we will do this or how we will do this or even why we are doing this, but we are doing it and I am hosting it.

Well he certainly sounds excited.

Nominations for the 72nd Emmy Awards will be announced by the Television Academy on Tuesday, July 28. As for where this event will take place, who will be in attendance, or how you can have an awards show in a world of social distancing, the press release only says “additional details regarding production of the show will be announced soon.” A red carpet show in the era of coronavirus will, if nothing else, give Saturday Night Live give plenty of material for a sketch on their season premiere.

Gallery — The Best TV Series of 2020 So Far:

Netflix Made A Show Out of ‘Floor Is Lava’

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One of my older daughter’s favorite time-wasting games during quarantine has been “Hot Lava.” She pretends the ground is boiling hot and she has to navigate her way from the couch to the other couch by jumping or stepping on things floating in the “lava.” It’s very amusing watching her play this game, a childhood favorite for bored tykes since time immemorial.

Never did I think that it needed to become a television series. However, Netflix appears to have their fingers on the pulse of the crucial Matt’s Daughters demographic, and they just unveiled the trailer for Floor Is Lava, a game show that takes the basic premise of my kid’s Hot Lava game and turns it into a gimmicky version of Wipeout or American Ninja Warrior, with adults trying to complete obstacle courses through giant pools filled with “lava.” (For a moment I thought we had finally achieved full Running Man dystopian game show future, but it appears the lava is just red water.)

The trailer for the show’s first season is below:

I kid about the demos, but for sure I will show this to my daughter, and for sure she will enjoy it, and for sure she will be jumping over even more of my furniture afterwards, and for sure she’s going to break a lamp or something, and for sure I am going to sue Netflix for liability. Floor Is Lava premieres on Netflix on June 19.

Gallery — The Best TV Shows of 2020 So Far:

 

John Cleese Slams BBC For Removing ‘Fawlty Towers’ Episode

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At least one star is not pleased that his work has been removed from public view, at least temporarily, as TV channels and streaming services react to the protests that have sprung up around the world following the death of George Floyd. Police shows like Live PD and Cops have been canceled, and older episodes of shows like Little Britain have been taken off of Netflix because of their use of blackface.

The BBC has also removed one episode of the classic British sitcom Fawlty Towers because of its use of racial slurs. Several are used in “The Germans,” in which a group German guests come to Basil Fawlty’s hotel. The BBC previously edited the slurs out of the show during reairings beginning in 2013; now the show has been pulled from the BBC streaming service UKTV.

Reached for comment by The Age, series star and co-creator John Cleese called the decision “stupid,” and insisted that his show was very much mocking racists, not embracing their view. Speaking of the character who used the slurs, Cleese said:

The Major was an old fossil left over from decades before. We were not supporting his views, we were making fun of them. If they can’t see that, if people are too stupid to see that, what can one say?

On Twitter, UKTV said they had “temporarily” removed “The Germans” while they “review it,” because it “contains racial slurs”.

It seems like “The Germans” will return in some form, with some kind of additional editing or content warnings — much the way HBO Max took down Gone With the Wind this week while announcing it would bring the film back soon with additional context. In the meantime, every episode of Fawlty Towers is still available on DVD or for rent or purchase digitally on several different platforms.

Gallery — The Best TV of 2020 So Far:

‘Cops’ Canceled By Paramount Network

href=”//screencrush.com/author/mattsinger/” rel=”author” title=”Matt Singer”>Matt SingerParamount Network

After more than 30 years on the air — and six seasons on the Paramount Network — Cops has been canceled. The show has been airing regularly on Paramount (previously Spike TV) since 2013. But if you looked at the Paramount Network’s official website over the weekend and searched for Cops, you would have seen a prompt that reads “we can't find that, but give one of these a try” and been pointed towards Bar Rescue or Lip Sync Battle instead. It was as if the show was not only not on the air moving forward, but that it had never appeared on the channel to begin with.

And, in fact, Paramount Network has canceled Cops. The show was supposed to have its 33rd season premiere this week. Instead a spokesperson for the network told Deadline “Cops is not on the Paramount Network and we don’t have any current or future plans for it to return.”

That marks a total and sudden programming change in light of the ongoing protests around the country against police brutality. In this environment, a show like Cops — a reality series about actual police officers on the job, backed by a theme song that includes the line “Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do when they come for you?” — was probably going to draw more controversy than ratings. (It may be worth noting that the 27/4 Cops channel on Pluto.TV is still on the digital airwaves as of this writing.)

As for Live PD, the other reality show focused on cops that was pulled from cable last weekend, A&E is reportedly still “evaluating the right time to bring it back.” Given the state of the world, that could be a while.

Gallery — The Best TV Shows of 2020 So Far: