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Fox’s ‘Cops’ leaving network after 25 years

This TV publicity image released by Fox shows police officers in Hillsborough, Fla., interrogating two occupants of a car for suspicious drug activity in the "Liar Liar #6" episode of "COPS." The Saturday night television fixture "Cops" is leaving Fox after 25 years to move to the Spike network. The cable network aimed at young male viewers said Monday, May 6, 2013, it will begin airing episodes in September. (AP Photo/Fox)

This TV publicity image released by Fox shows police officers in Hillsborough, Fla., interrogating two occupants of a car for suspicious drug activity in the "Liar Liar #6" episode of "COPS." The Saturday night television fixture "Cops" is leaving Fox after 25 years to move to the Spike network. The cable network aimed at young male viewers said Monday, May 6, 2013, it will begin airing episodes in September. (AP Photo/Fox)

The “bad boys” are on the move. The Saturday night television fixture Cops is leaving Fox after 25 years and will be shown on the Spike network.

The cable network aimed at young male viewers said it will begin airing the action documentary series with the indelible theme song (“bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do when they come for you?”) in September.

The move isn’t really a surprise. Fox had cut down on the number of episodes ordered this season and frequently pre-empted the show for football games or ultimate fighting matches, which drew higher ratings. Fox will announce its fall season schedule next week.

“All good things must come to an end and there’s a renewal process in life,” said John Langley, the show’s creator. “I’m fortunate I have the opportunity to take it to Spike.”

Cops cameras follow officers on nighttime patrol with all the crooks, drunks and violent offenders they meet up with. It was a novelty for television when it began airing in March 1989, during Fox’s third year of operation, back when “reality TV” wasn’t even a genre. For many years, it was paired on Fox’s Saturday night lineup with America’s Most Wanted, which left the network in 2011 and shifted to Lifetime.

Langley said he had no bitterness toward Fox and was grateful the network took a chance on his concept when others rejected him.

“We always won our time slot,” he said. “We were the little engine that could, and we were delivering for Fox over the 25 years. I understand that new regimes have different attitudes. I just felt that we needed a change as well.”

Langley’s son, Morgan, helps produce Cops, which has filmed more than 900 episodes in 140 cities. He said its success has enabled his production company to make other shows that appear on Spike and Tru TV.

“It’s important to have a flagship show,” he said.

He acknowledges being a pioneer in reality TV, but he said many shows on now are “scripted, they’re not reality. They’re scripted shows with real people.”

Spike said it will air Cops in its customary 8 p.m. time slot, with two half-hour programs running back to back.

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