Raw reality or voyeuristic pleasure
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Raw Reality OR Voyeuristic Pleasure. March 11, 1989. “Puttin’ Bad People In Jail.”. JOHN LANGLEY. One of the earliest players in reality-based programming. Creator & Executive Producer. JOHN LANGLEY on the beginning.

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Raw Reality OR Voyeuristic Pleasure

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Raw reality or voyeuristic pleasure

Raw Reality OR Voyeuristic Pleasure

  • March 11, 1989

Puttin bad people in jail

“Puttin’ Bad People In Jail.”

John langley


  • One of the earliest

    players in reality-based


  • Creator & Executive


John langley on the beginning

JOHN LANGLEY on the beginning

  • “Back on Cocaine Blues, I accompanied cops on a drug bust. I said, 'Wow, this is interesting.' I thought it would be great to do a show with no narrator and no script, from a cop's point of view. Because it is interesting work. Nobody would buy it.”

  • "We'll never do this kind of show. It will be a nightmare legally. You can't do a show without a host and narrator. You can't do a show without actors and a script. I had blinders on and I refused to listen to all the rejections. All the networks rejected it. The irony is that once it was picked up by Fox and succeeded, every network wanted to do the same show. All the networks called me back to see if I would do a cop show with them."

Unparalleled format

Unparalleled Format

  • No Narrator

  • No Script

  • Violence, Drugs & Profiling

  • Shirtless men and women

  • First to use actual footage

    rather than re-enactments

  • “Fly on the wall” or Veritè

    style documentary.

Pushing the envelope

Pushing the Envelope

  • The interesting thing about television is that you can show all the blood and guts you want. You just have to avoid sex and language. I've had some interesting discussions with Standards and Practices [internal network censorship units] over the years. For instance, you can't say 'Jesus Christ' or 'God damn it' on television. Yet I can show homicide. To me, a murder is far more obscene than language. I always try to push the envelope as far as possible. Not to exploit, but to be as real and as raw as possible because that's the programming mandate for the show. I wanted to show you reality as you have never seen it. You want to show what a homicide scene is and what a high speed chase is. My purpose is not to show blood and guts. I just want to show reality as unvarnished as possible. Cops is an existential variety show. It is unpredictable and immediate and as real as you can get without being there.

  • -John Langley

Unparalleled enduring success

Unparalleled Enduring Success

  • Four Emmy Nominations

  • Top-rated reality show through 1996-Voyeurism

  • Cheap to produce $200,000 per episode, over 400 episodes by 1999

  • Timeless quality/syndication.

  • Grossed over $200 million since crossing over into syndication in 1994.

  • Now seen in 40 other countries.

  • Police cooperation linked with desire for Self-promotion.

Cops pop culture

Cops & Pop Culture

  • Inner Circle

  • Jamaican Reggae group

  • “Bad Boys”

  • Popular Parody

  • Became part of Pop Culture

    and synonymous with show

  • Celebrities caught in the act.

Lasting impact of cops on culture

Lasting Impact of COPS on Culture

  • Perpetuating Stereotypes

  • Profiling

  • Structured to intrigue

    • Chase scene- humorous – lyrical emotion driven scene- thought provoking about law.

  • Is it presenting reality?

    • Japan viewers, 8 weeks of taping on each location.

Works cited

Works Cited

  • Ben Grossman. Broadcasting & Cable. New York: Nov 13, 2006. Vol.136, Iss. 45;  pg. 18

  • Doyle, Aaron. “COPS”: Television Policing as Policing Reality. 1997

  • http://www.lukeford.net/profiles/profiles/john_langley.htm

  • http://www.courttv.com/onair/shows/hollywood_heat/articles/0505copsfeat2.html

  • http://www.imdb.com

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