Fox Yanks Long-Running Show From Prime-Time Slots, Cuts Back on Episode Order NY Magazine

Fox is pulling a long-running show from prime time for most of the remainder of 2012, and plans to cut its episodic commitment to the program, reports Joe Adalian in New York Magazine's Vulture blog.

In place of the long-running real-life crime show “COPS,” Fox will air Fox Sports programming most Saturday nights through early December, the story says. The summer schedule will feature baseball; fall will include college football; and a mix of NASCAR and UFC matches will air the rest of the year, the story notes.

Fox insists it's not canceling "COPS," which has aired on the network since 1989. Instead, the network says it's merely cutting back on its order, although a network representative couldn't say how many episodes will be produced in the future, the piece adds.

"What's clear, however, is that Fox won't be airing ‘COPS’ as anything close to a weekly series for most of the remainder of 2012: Only nine Saturdays this year won't feature Fox Sports programming, and those nine weeks are split in batches of three weeks over three months in July, August and December," Adalian writes.

"Fox has been remaking its Saturday night lineup in slow-motion over the last few years. First, it cut back on 'America's Most Wanted,' killing the show as a weekly series and instead ordering quarterly specials," he writes. "The 'COPS' cutback is the latest phase of the evolution, and it comes despite the fact that the show does solid ratings for Saturdays and costs next-to-nothing to produce."

But the viewers of "COPS" "aren't particularly appealing to advertisers, so Fox doesn't make much coin off of the show," the story adds.